THE PRINCE OF HOUSE VLADD


				  BOOK 3


				 CHAPTER 8


				 BY ARTHUR




Peter and Swiftwing looked over the figures for the last ten days, the news
was not good, not only had they now lost four more Vaga Houses to total
destruction along with over seventy Vaga themselves but, there was a new
player in the war, from the reports they saw, now the enemy had help from a
large number of Wolves, who they were was not known, it was time to get
some more help.

Swiftwing wrapped his arm over Peters shoulder while the Prince made the
call; Swiftwing heard the gruff voice on the other end.

"Yeah, what you want short stuff?"

"Jake, we need your help, that's if you're not too busy making money and
building an empire."

"Funny, funny, you little vamps always got to belittle us poor hard working
wolves, now am I busy? Nah, how could I be busy with five major builds, six
major repairs and of course your Vaga Houses to repair and refit as well as
I've got more than twelve hundred guys working for me and they want to be
paid tomorrow, so Nah, I'm not busy, just take your time."

Peter gave a small giggle; Jake had not changed a bit since their first
meeting but was still the most honest and reliable of all the people in
Peter's large circle of friends.

"The latest reports from the Vaga say there are now a large number of
wolves working for the other side, we need help to find out who they are,
we've lost another four houses to them, they totalled all of them, and I've
got those who escaped spread out through other houses for now."

"How did the vamps get past the Ultra Violet Lamps, that should have
stopped them dead."

"As far as we can tell, none of the vamps went down that far, the vamps did
most of the attack until they got to the last level, then they blew the
doors and let the wolves go in, as you know, the lamps had no effect on the
wolves and they were able to smash them all and the vamps came in behind,
the Vaga just managed to get out of the emergency exits but we still had
losses."

"And you want to know who the wolves are, right?"

"Yes, we don't think it's any of yours but you may know who they are or be
able to find out better than us."

"Ok, leave it with me, I haven't heard anything on the grape vine but I'll
put someone to work on it right away, I'll call you as soon as I have
something."

"Thanks Jake, we're getting hammered here and I don't have a clue where
they came from or who's in charge, although I do now have a lead on one
possible leader, but more of him later."

"Have you thought of where the vamps are getting their food, perhaps you
can trace that line down?"

"No, I did not think of that angle, they've been attacking small towns and
such but it wouldn't be enough to feed them all, thanks for that Jake, it
gives me another angle to look into."

"Ok Mr. Prince, I'll get back to you so keep your skinny butt safe until I
have something for you."

"Thanks again Jake, I'll wait for your call."

As he hung up his phone, Swiftwing pointed out the red light flashing for
an incoming call, lifting the handset once again, Peter asked.

"Poitr Vladd, who is this?"

Swiftwing could easily hear the aged voice on the other end of the line.

"Prince Vladd, this is Thomas Bent Spear of the Tlingit, I have a young
warrior here who may have some information for you, I have not been able to
get the full story as the young man has been delirious for a few days and
is rather incoherent most times, do you have someone that could come?"

"Certainly Mr. Bent Spear, I'll have some one on the way as soon as I can,
can you tell me exactly where you are?"

Peter and Swiftwing listened while the old voice answered them with the
directions, Swiftwing looked at Peter and nodded before he went towards the
door, this was his territory and he was not going to wait any longer than
needed.

"I have my life partner on the way now Mr. Bent Spear, he should be with
you by this time tomorrow, will the young man hold out that long?"

"Yes, you have no fear of that, he is just repairing his body, the
infection is mainly over and it is only the need for rest that still has
him in a coma but the fever is broken so there is little danger now."

"Did he tell you what it was he wanted to tell us?"

"No, most of what he said is while he was in the fever it was like a dream
but it sounded so strange I could only think of the edict that was sent out
by the Council to report anything strange."

"Thank you once again Mr. Bent Spear, my partner has already left to come
too you."

"Thank you Prince Vladd, I shall await his arrival."

Peter replaced the phone to the sound of one of the SUV's leaving for the
airport, Swiftwing had taken four human guards with him as he knew Peter
would be upset if he did not take someone and he wanted to make sure that
the twins stayed with Peter until the others woke up at dusk.


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Two Feathers slow awoke, he had little idea of time or place but the soft
feel of a bed and warm blankets told him he was in a house, as his eyes
fluttered open he tried to look around but he could barely move his head as
he felt so weak, a small movement caught his eye and he tilted his head to
the left where he saw the figure of what looked like a young woman, the
large loose blouse and wide skirt told of the woman's Indian descent.

Two Feathers watched as the small sound of his movements made the woman
turn around, too his surprise, what he saw made him catch his breath, it
was not a woman, but a young man dressed like a woman, she was a Berdach, a
man who was a woman, he/she looked to be in the early twenties, her/his
mannerisms were definitely effeminate but the smile looked genuine and
caring.

"Hello young warrior, how do you feel now?"

Two Feathers could hardly take his eyes off the first Berdach he had ever
met, it was well known about them but he had never ever met one in person,
the young Berdach sat beside the bed and still had a smile on his/her soft
face.

Two Feathers gave a weak smile, he wasn't quite sure how he felt, either
about his illness or being so close to one such as this, it was all too new
and strange for him, the fact that he felt a stirring under the warm
blanket also had him a little confused.

"I am Two Feathers and am now a warrior of the Bear Clan, who are you, what
is going on, how long have I been here?"

"I am Little Deer, wife of the Medicine Elder Bent Spear, you are in our
home, you were badly injured and in a fever but you are ok now that it has
broken, you will stay here for a few more days then you can return to your
home."

"Where are my things?"

"I am tanning your bear skin, you are quite the warrior, I have never seen
a bigger black bear skin, he was a fitting trial for such a warrior as you,
your bear claws are with my husband, he is doing ceremony with them and
will have you join him for the last day of prayers when you are strong
enough, I have repaired your jacket but, unfortunately your boxers were
beyond help, my husband asked me to make new leggings and a breechclout for
you, they are ready when you can get up, now, drink this and rest again."

Two Feathers tried to raise his head but was unable, Little Deer saw this
and placed a hand behind his head to help, the light touch sent shivers
through Two Feathers, he was amazed that they felt like good shivers and
not the kind that foretold of bad things, he placed his lips on the edge of
the small wooden bowl and sipped, the sudden astringent taste made him
grimace and he looked up at the young face above him in askance.

"It's a special tea of Willow bark and other herbs, it will make you strong
and help you recover faster, now drink it all down."

Little Deer tipped the bowl more as the young teen drank it all, although
the boy had a distasteful look on his young face all the time, with a final
grimace, Two Feathers swallowed the last of the tea and lay back, it took
no time at all and he was sleeping peacefully once again.

When he next opened his eyes, Two Feathers saw an old Medicine Elder
standing by the bed with another young teen, this one looked to be from
somewhere else and had an aura of power about him which was very strange
for someone so young, he watched the teens face as the Elder plumped up his
pillows so he could see better.

"Well Two Feathers, Warrior of the Bear Clan, you look much better, this is
Swiftwing, a Medicine Elder of the Council of Elders, he has come to hear
your story, if you would be so kind as to tell him?"

Two Feathers could not believe his ears, while few had seen Swiftwing,
everyone knew about him, he was the youngest ever to be universally known
and named as a Medicine Elder, his short history was well known by every
boy he knew, he looked up at the young teen in awe, why would someone as
important as Swiftwing want to know his story, granted, he had performed
very well on his quest but there was little he thought would make such a
person as Swiftwing come to listen to it.

"I am told you have found your totem and had to fight the biggest black
bear ever seen around here and won, it is a mighty feat for one so young,
tell me your story of how you managed to defeat such a great beast and then
come all this way alone and injured and yet still carry your treasures?"

Two Feathers felt a little embarrassed as he began to relate his trial
quest, for half an hour he told them everything, the look on their faces
never changed as he went through every event, it was only when he lightly
mentioned his dream on the beach about strange men that he saw Swiftwing's
right eyebrow lift a fraction, did this mean he did not believe his tale,
Two Feathers brought his story to an end and looked up into the awed faces
of the two others, it was Swiftwing that was the first too speak.

"Can you tell me more about the strangers you saw, where were they and what
did they sound or look like?"

Two Feathers looked back into his memory, it was hard to concentrate on
such a fleeting image when so much more had happened that seemed far more
important but, if that's what this young Medicine Elder wanted then he
would try his best.

"It was dark, I had been walking longer than I thought, I was very tired
and I think the first of the infection was starting, I was laying under the
undergrowth when they came, the language was like nothing I have ever
heard, it was sort of sing song and all the words flowed together, the men
were hard to see even though the moon was full but they were smaller than
normal men and all looked to have black hair, most of them were tied up and
only a few held guns like they were guards, they were held there for some
hours and then taken away again by another ship, I went to sleep again so
did not see or hear them any more."

"Could they have been Asian, you know, Chinese or Japanese?"

"Yes, they could have been but as I said, it was dark and I could not see
clearly through the undergrowth but it is possible they were."

"Do you know where you were when you saw them?"

"Not exactly, I had walked for more than one day but not two days when I
saw Bent Spear on the beach, it was a large beach and shallow where I saw
them."

"I think I know the place, I can take you there too look around if you
wish?" Bent Spear said to Swiftwing.

"Thank you, yes I would like to see this place, thank you young Warrior,
you have done well, now rest and get strong to return to your home, you
will hear from us again when the time is right." Swiftwing told Two
Feathers.

Two Feathers watched as they both left him to rest, he was feeling better
but still weak, he wondered how long before he could make for his home and
tell his story, he hoped they would believe him although he had the proof
in the skin and claws, perhaps it would at last stop the bullying of the
other young would be warriors now.

Once they had left the room to let the boy sleep, Bent Spear began to tell
Swiftwing about where he thought the boy had been when he saw the
strangers.

"I am assuming the boy travelled about twenty five miles, I found him about
five miles away up to the north, with his injuries, with the weight he was
carrying and the fever coming on fast I don't think he could have covered
more than that, if so then the most likely bay would be about thirty miles
away, it is the third bay along and is protected by two large cliffs like a
horse shoe, it must have been low tide when he came out of there as at high
tide you are trapped inside, there is no way a very fit man could climb the
cliffs let alone a young boy who had his injuries."

"Good, then I will go and look it over and see if there is anything there
that can help, our thanks for your help Bent Spear, your name will be
mentioned at the next meeting as one who is truly dedicated to the old
ways, our thanks again, now I must get away and see what is to be seen."

Swiftwing left the small house in the trees and set off at a jog until he
was out of sight of the house, once he was down on the black sand of the
beach he sped up and was soon covering the ground at a speed no others but
the folk would have been able to keep pace with.

It was high tide when he came to the bay they thought might be where the
men had been seen, with little effort on his part, Swiftwing went easily up
and over the high cliffs that guarded the bay, as he came down once again
onto the sand he stopped to look around, the sun was nearing the horizon so
he had only a few more minutes to look around in the day light, it took no
time at all to find the place where the boy had probably been hiding.

Swiftwing sat down under the bushes cross legged and let his eyes close, it
was time to use his skills as a shaman and see if he could dream about that
night as the boy had seen it, not really a hard thing to do if your were
Swiftwing.

The mists gathered and then parted, Swiftwing was laying under the bushes,
his left leg was throbbing and his shoulder was in pain, his head was on
something soft but it smelled musky, it was night time and there were
insects and small rodents moving around in the dark, the brightness of the
full moon was just starting to show through the cloud cover, suddenly the
far off sound of an engine broke his sleeping thoughts, there then came,
after a few more minutes, the sound of voices, strange voices with a
language that was foreign to his ears, in his dream, Swiftwing saw the men
start to come onto the black sand beach under guard, their hands bound and
their feet shuffling with short steps, there were obvious shouts of anger
and the occasional smack of something hitting flesh as the bound men were
pushed onto the shore.

After a while there came another sound of engines, this time the ship or
barge was larger, Swiftwing watched in his dream as the now hundreds of
bound men were hustled onto the new barge, his dream ended as the barge
took the men away, the boy had been right, the men were Asians, now
Swiftwing had a good idea where the enemy were getting their food from.

As he sat and looked out on the darkening sea, Swiftwing tried to work out
what he should do next, he now had the place of the landings of the food
source, should he go back and tell his boy friend about it or try to wait
and see when the next delivery would take place, it was now fully dark,
there was no full moon but only the first glimmer of the new rising moon,
as he sat and thought, his ears picked up the faintest of sounds from far
out on the sea, Swiftwing sat upright, could he have been so lucky as to
pick the one night they were going to make their next delivery, Swiftwing
decided to wait and see, it was too good an opportunity to miss.

As he waited, Swiftwing saw the dark outline of a large freighter slow
almost to a stop far out off the coast, still sitting on the ground,
Swiftwing reached out for the old Redwood tree next to him, as he closed
his eyes, the faint sounds of the ship reached his ears.

On the freighter Shu Maru, no one took notice of the faint green mist that
suddenly appeared and hung like a ghost over the bow where it remained
unmoving for some time, they had better things to do than worry about a bit
of sea mist which was quite common this close to the coast.

On the deck were twenty containers, they were now being opened and the many
armed guards along the deck watched with narrowed eyes as the people inside
were taken out one by one and quickly tied up by the wrists, the loud
clanking of the crane was heard as the ship deposited a large barge into
the sea beside the ship it had been on the aft deck for just this occasion.

As the men came across one of the prisoners that had not made the crossing
alive, they just dumped the body unceremoniously over the side, there would
always be losses on a trip like this, young, old, male, female, it made no
difference, they were just stock for others to use, the men hurried on as
they forced the prisoners down a cargo net and into the waiting barge, they
would have to make a number of trips to get all five hundred onto the shore
and they had little time to waste.

As the unloading continued, the faint mist hung suspended over the bow and,
when the last barge load headed for shore, the faint mist began to
dissipate and flow onto the surface of the calm sea, no one noticed
something so common.

Swiftwing opened his eyes, he now had more details, all that was needed now
was to find out where the prisoners went from here, to this end he stayed
hidden in the undergrowth, silently watching the mass of humanity on the
dark beach below him.

As he waited in the darkness, Swiftwing decided to send all he had found
out to Peter, he would then follow the new boat that arrived to pick them
up and, hopefully be able to trace them back to the place they were being
sent too, Swiftwing closed his eyes and let his spirit walk through the
mists, he soon had Peter's open mind listening to him, his boyfriend was
fast asleep and so it made it so much easier to talk with him in spirit
form.

Once Swiftwing had finished his message and also left Peter with a warm and
wet thought, Swiftwing smiled and let his ears do the searching, it was
only an hour later he heard the heavy throb of marine engines from along
the dark coast, sitting perfectly still as he watched the mass of humans
down on the beach, Swiftwing waited for the expected barge to arrive, this
time he would use his Shaman skills for another purpose, over the last ten
years he had nearly perfected his skill as a Skin Walker, the ability to
change into certain animals or birds, this time it would have to be a bird.

The loading of the captives took less than an hour and, as the barge pulled
away, one of the crew casually noticed a large seagull land on the very top
of the radio mast, he took little notice of it, he had seen the same thing
many times before, although not usually late at night like it was now,
still perhaps the gull was tired, he ignored it and went back to watching
over the food stock in the bowels of the barge, that was his job, not
worrying over some stray gull.

Swiftwing, with the sharp eyes of the gull, watched every movement in the
large barge, he settled in for a long ride although he guessed they would
not go too far as they would not want to be seen in daylight with their
hold full of captives, just before sunrise, in the faint early morning
light, the barge began to run into another quiet cove, Swiftwing could
easily make out the shapes of heavy trucks waiting at the edge of the
landing beach, it was time to leave his roost and make for shore before
they started to unload.

Swiftwing took flight towards the shore, eventually landing behind the
waiting trucks, within seconds he was changed back into his human form, now
all he had to do was get onto one of the trucks and let them take him to
their drop off point, again the faint green mist worked its way along the
damp ground of early morning, totally unseen it attached itself to the
underside of the last truck in line.


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Peter awoke to the sticky wet feeling that Swiftwing always left him with
after a spirit dream, he smiled at the memory and then ran through the
message that he had been given before Swiftwing showed him how much he was
missed, they now had the landing point of the extra food needed for the
attackers, soon they would also have the drop off point, things were
starting to look up.

As yet Jake had not found out much to help with the Werewolf problem
although he believed they may have come from the only area that was still
untouched, they were what Jake referred to as `Hill Billies' and were known
to be very isolated way up in the Adirondacks and other very isolated
areas, he was still searching for more information, Jake also asked Peter
if there was any chance some of the Vaga could attempt to capture a young
one alive for questioning by him, Peter said he would try but could not
guarantee anything.

Even with all the new information, Peter could still not put 2+2 together
to be able to see the full scope of the challenges now facing him and his
people, he decided to go over everything once again in his mind, he had one
of the leaders, one that was very important in the vampire world, this was
still a shock to Peter but he had to put aside his own feelings in the hope
of saving all of his folk.

Along with Chen Sin Yu, he now had a definite Asian influence, next he had
one of their food sources begin tracked, next was the possible location of
the newly arrived Wolves, there were also the large numbers of missing
teens that later turned up as New Bloods, the one thing he was missing was
the overall leader, he still had no idea whom it could be.

It was a forgone conclusion that Chen Sin Yu was not the planner behind all
of the attacks even though he was now a part of it for his own gain, the
New Bloods had to turned by another vampire as he knew for certain that
Chen Sin Yu was still in either Korea or China so for the local attacks
there had to be another vampire involved, one that was off the radar and
was unknown to any of them or the Council.

Peter rubbed his forehead in frustration, even with all they knew, he was
still missing a lot of vital information, he still had no idea who was
behind it all, to make matters worse, he watched as another report of the
loss of two more Vaga houses came through on the vampnet, they also had
lost twenty seven of their number to the rampaging wolves.

Peter feared that if these losses kept up, his Vaga would soon have nowhere
to stay and would be easy targets if they were back on the streets without
the protection of their specially built houses, Peter could almost feel the
air of hopelessness settling over the folk, loss after loss was starting to
get to the Vaga and there was little they or he could do for now but sit
and take it, Peter now had most of his hopes resting on his boyfriends
shoulders and Jakes enquiries.

As he sat trying to put things together, Peter felt the light touch of
Swiftwing in his mind, closing his eyes he let his boyfriend talk to him,
although it left him slightly dizzy after Swiftwing talked to him in this
manner, he was glad to get the contact, with an imaginary kiss, Swiftwing
left his head and Peter let the shiver pass while he thought about all he
had been told.

With a little more hope in his heart, Peter now only had to wait for the
final contact when Swiftwing found the final destination of the food stock,
at least now he had a little something more to work on, if only Jake could
run down the rogue wolves then they could start some form of counter
attack.


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Michael Strong was almost sweating when he had left the meeting at the
Hotel, Chen and Senti had not been happy about how the take over was going,
that is until Michael told them about the new recruits, he had to hope that
the next attack would be more successful than those before.

That meeting had been ten days ago and now he was happy to report to his
backers that the multiple attacks had been so successful, the Vaga were
losing houses at a good rate and would soon have very few places left to
hide, once that happened he could really get after the Prince and his
little conclave, so far they had not been able to get near the Princes home
but that would come.

His second food stock should arrive this very night, that had been a real
boon to his needs, his young new bloods now numbered over four hundred and
needed feeding as well as all the imported troops, of the Chinese Tong
Troops there were now only about six hundred left after the early losses,
the Yakuza had at first not fared to well either, they were now down to two
hundred and fifty, Chen and Senti had said they would not send more troops
until he could prove that they were now winning.

Michael looked at the latest report, they had totally trashed two more Vaga
houses, with luck he would now be able to ask for more troops to fill in
the losses of earlier battles, his map of Vaga houses was now starting to
look like a Swiss cheese as more and more red dots appeared where once Vaga
houses stood.

Michael had found that the Wolves were a little more demanding than at
first thought although he had to give them their due, they were a ruthless
pack, any Vaga caught by them was demolished as food, only the young
Vampires could not be eaten by the Wolves as they were long dead and their
blood was toxic to Wolves, those they dismembered and left for the sun to
do its work.

Michael watched the monitor as the next load of food arrived at the door,
the ground mist that slipped across the ground as the last truck stopped
went unnoticed by everyone as the trucks drove through the concealed door
in the side of the mountain, Michael smiled as he saw the food arrive, his
boys were going to feed well tonight and would not have to share like most
times.

Michael went through the attacks for tonight, with luck there would be two
more Vaga houses laying like old ruins before the sun rose, it looked as
though his next report was going to get him all the extra help he would
ever need.


Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx


Swiftwing reformed his body once he was well into the surrounding trees, he
now had to make sure the place was marked when he found out exactly where
he was, there was a vague feeling of familiarity about the location but he
need more proof before he could contact Peter.

Swiftwing changed his form to that of a hawk and took to the air, he had no
sooner reached a good altitude than he knew where he was, the high mountain
stood out from the surrounding forest like a beacon, he was in the centre
of Colorado, with a little more height he soon had his full bearings, it
was time to get home and tell Peter where the head quarters were, they were
now on their way to finding a solution to the continuous attacks.

The sun had risen high by the time Swiftwing in the form of a brown hawk
began his descent towards the compound below him, he had now been away for
three days and wanted to get back to the arms of the one he loved, there
had been little time for them to be together while all the attacks were on
and he had had to leave so often.

The two boys had been sitting for over an hour while Swiftwing went through
everything he had heard or seen, it was now time to start a little mayhem
of their own, Peter lifted the phone and began to make calls, those Vaga
houses close to where Swiftwing had seen the doors of the bunker were asked
to go and keep watch over it but to be very careful while in sight of the
bunker.

Next the calls went out for more of the Vaga to start to make their way to
Peter's compound, as they were making the calls, Peter saw the red light on
his computer light up and Jakes name appear on the caller list.

"Hi Jake, what do you have?"

"How do short stuff, I've got some info for you, those wolves are from
around the Adirondack area, most are from well up into the hills and a lot
are hidden in the deep valleys, they're not a nice bunch, unlike me and
mine, those guys are tough cookies and have no qualms about pulling
vampires to pieces while they are still alive."

"Is there any idea where they are staying now?"

"Not for certain, they seem to have disappeared but it has to be them that
are doing over the Vaga houses, these guys are true animals, they respect
no one and nothing, I'm going to start getting some of my guys together to
make up a hunting pack, with luck we can thin their numbers while you look
into other things."

"In that case you will be glad to know we have the site of their
headquarters, Swiftwing managed to track them to Colorado, we are just now
setting up some more surveillance on their hide away, we also have their
food source tracked down, thanks to some of the First Nation people."

"That's good, I'll let you get on with it, I have to gather a few of my
better hunters and start to look for those rogues, I'll call when I have
something for you."

"Thanks Jake, I'll wait for your call."

Peter hung up the phone and turned to Swiftwing.

"Did you get all of that?"

"Yes, now I need to get some sleep, you going to join me or sit here all
day and play General?"

Peter looked up with a coy smile on his face.

"Sleep?"

"Well, perhaps afterwards, come on, I need some company."

The two boys left the office on the ground floor and went to the lift,
within a minute they were in each others arms as they lay naked on the
large round bed, sleep was the last thing on their minds as the sun began
its descent towards the western horizon.


TBC.


Artcart65@vodafone.co.nz

 

 

 

 

 

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