Twenty minutes later and the guard was once again at the door gesturing for Peter and the other boys to follow him back to the meeting room and the decision of the President, it took no great ability for Peter to read the thoughts of all those present, the President was totally in agreement with Peter, the younger of the two military was also happy to be with Peter although a little reserved about the type of people his men would be working with, the other general was adamantly against any combined force with the demon spawn, one advisor was reserving a decision and the other had a small plan of his own, Peter smiled at all in the room as the President began.

"Prince Vladd, we are all in agreement that we need your help and the help of your fellows, what we don't understand is how it can be done?"

"Mr. President, I assume that this meeting is still totally secret and will not be repeated in any way outside these walls?"

"Of course Prince Vladd, nothing will be known outside this office, all those concerned are here now, why do you ask?"

"Unfortunately, Mr. President, you have two people in this room that seem to want nothing better than to disclose everything we are discussing."

The President looked totally shocked at the disclosure; he looked at his four advisors with a blankness that indicated he had no idea of any undermining influences.

"Who do you mean, Prince Vladd?"

"Firstly the man on your left, Mr. Vespers, he is planning to use what is said in this room to advance his own career through the media by disclosing us to the world and thereby taking you out of office, and General Mackie is planning to use his seniority to countermand any orders issued to work with us, also to further his own ambitions."

The President looked shocked as he watched the two men mentioned by the Prince.

"How could you possibly know this, Prince Vladd?"

"I must apologise Mr. President, it is one of our abilities to see further than the surface of ones face."

"You mean you can read minds, is that it Prince Vladd?"

"Yes Mr. President, that's it exactly."

The President looked at Peter with a renewed interest then reached to his desk, Peter, with his extra hearing heard the bell ring outside the door, seconds later the two guards were quickly entering the room and looking around for danger.

"Marines." said the President. "You will place Mr. Vesper and General Mackie under arrest, they are both to be held in separate cells and totally incommunicado, there is to be no contact or discussion with either of them unless you have my express permission in writing is that clear?"

"Yes Sir." both Marines answered simultaneously, then each took an elbow of the two men and quickly marched them out of the office, the two voices could be heard as they were taken away protesting their treatment and innocence.

"Now what do we do with two men missing, I need their authority to activate the forces, Prince Vladd?"

"If I may make a suggestion, Mr. President?"

"By all means Prince Vladd?"

"Your advisor here, Mr. Campbell is an honest man, he has the abilities you need and the experience, as to Colonel Masters, he is also honest and devoted to your office and his duties, why not promote them both and then we will not have to bring in others, I can trust them both as I trust Mr. Shaw."

"Very well Prince Vladd." The President turned towards the two men. "Mr. Campbell, you are hereby promoted to the position of senior advisor to this office, your promotion will be gazetted and made public as soon as this meeting adjourns, Colonel Masters, you are also hereby promoted to one star general and have the full authority of this office to make all and any decisions required to undertake this operation, your promotion will also be gazetted as soon as this meeting ends, both promotions are effective immediately."

Both men were blushing as they acknowledged the Presidents words.

"Now gentlemen, what are we going to do?" Campbell was the first to reply.

"Mr. President, Prince Vladd, I recommend that a state of emergency is declared in the five states, this will allow Colonel....sorry General Masters to bring in troops to a civilian area."

"Excellent Mr. Campbell, General Masters?"

"Sir, until we know exactly who we are up against I don't know what forces we will need."

"Prince Vladd, perhaps you can enlighten us?"

"Mr. President, the forces you will be up against are formidable, so far we are sure there will be werewolves, Werecats and vampires at night, the wolves and cats can operate during the day but the Vampires are restricted to the night, all of these folk are hard to kill, this is where I am totally trusting you and your people, there is only one way to be sure of killing any of them."

"And that is? Prince Vladd." asked the President.

"Removal of their head or in the case of Vampires, exposure to bright sunlight as well, what your men will have to remember is that it is easier said than done, they all have far superior speed and strength as you have already seen in the earlier demonstration, what I suggest is that the General finds at least fifty snipers that can be armed with Barret .50's and are issued with depleted uranium rounds, they will have to make head shots only or at worst upper chest so that the top half of the body is totally destroyed, they will have to work both at night time and day time, if the General can get these men I can guarantee their safety, each man will have  some of my people guarding their backs, we will also be down on the streets fighting, also we will need your official authority to join in your communications systems for safeties sake."

Peter had no intentions of telling them that he had them already, some things were best kept secret. The President looked over at the General.

"General? What can you do?"

"The fifty snipers I can get, but I will need 24 hours to get them all down there, the only worry I have is that if the Princes people are also fighting with the enemy, how are we going to know who is who?"

"That's easy, General; all my people will be wearing a white armband with my house crest in red on it." Peter lifted his right hand and showed his house crest to the three men.

"What if the enemy does the same, Prince Vladd?" asked the President.

"That's one thing they can't do, Mr. President, if they were to attempt to use any symbol of a royal house illegally, they would break a law more ancient than any you have, it would cause every house around the world to come and destroy them and everyone associated with them, their whole line would be wiped from the face of the earth, whether they were Vampire, Wolf, Avian or Cat, even the enemy is not that stupid, they all know the consequences."

"I see, but what about our men, they obviously are going to see things that are only fables, how can we keep secrecy in their case?"

"I will do a mind scan on each and every one before they find out what it's all about, any that are not suitable will be returned to their barracks and nothing will be said, the others, General Masters can put under the secrecy act, any breaches that do occur I can take care of." replied Peter with a thin smile on his lips. “I’m sure, Mr. President that we need to keep this all under wraps as much as possible for all our sakes."

"Agreed, Prince Vladd, now is there anything else we can do?"

"Not at this moment, Mr. President, if we may leave now, I need to be back before the sun sets to organise my people."

"Certainly Prince Vladd, and my sincere thanks for your honesty, Mr. Shaw, please see that the Prince has everything he needs, General, you better get started, take over General Mackie’s office, Mr. Campbell you will take over Mr. Vespers, lets go gentlemen we don't have much time." The president picked up a sheet of paper and handed it to Peter. "This number is my personal telephone number, anything you need you ring me direct and, thank you again, and I know how much this must have cost you to reveal yourselves and your people."

"Thank you, Mr. President, but this is our country as well, we had to come out into the open in a case like this."

"Thank you again, we will need to meet again after this is all over, it's obvious we are going to have to do something more in the future but it's not going to be easy for any of us."

"As long as this meeting is kept totally secret, Mr. President, we may not have to worry."

After shaking hands all around, Peter and the other boys left the office to get to the airport and return home. Three hours later, just as the sun was beginning to set, Peter lead the others into the main hall, on the large table before them was a stack of reports waiting for him, using his speed reading ability, Peter scanned through them quickly, as each was read, Peter sent out orders, Leon and Carter busily typing away on their respective keyboards as he gave his instructions, there had been only three attacks that day while he had been away, two by wolves and one by cats but Peter had a deep feeling that tonight was going to be another terrible one.

The rest of the house stirred awake as the sun disappeared in the western horizon, again at full strength with the awakening of his Vampires, Peter set to work delegating areas of the city to his guardians who in turn took charge of the forces at their disposal which included members of the Vaga house, Jakes many packs of werewolves as well as a number of new folk that had been alerted through the underground news network.

The other four states also took to the streets under Peters orders to look for trouble, again it was the inclusion of the Vaga that made the difference to their numbers, the Vaga boys being accepted into the normal world of the folk, had brought them a new found respect by all including them selves, the dedication to their Prince and all he had done for them, made them an army to be feared.

As the streets darkened and the humans ran for their homes, the folk began their patrols, owls patrolled the skies, big cats prowled the dark alleys and parks, werewolves boldly walked down the center of the streets and the Vampires took to the building tops to cover their patrols. It was only a short time before the first attacks came and the patrols began to have their hands full, every state was under attack and the fighting became more and more vicious as the numbers increased.

There was no finesse in formations or anything that a modern military would consider organised, this was a fight of primal beings at their worst or best depending on the perspective, all the Princes forces wore their armbands which were elasticised to expand or shrink to fit the folk as they transformed into their beasts, while Peters forces were less in number, their decision to work together in combinations to beat an enemy soon began to tell on the attackers. An enemy wolf would be faced with an Avian and a Feline with a Vampire as backup, it turned out to be a deadly trio, as the attackers had no Avians on their side, it soon became evident that the advantage of overhead surveillance was paramount to Peter’s forces being in position before the enemy could get set.

Slowly throughout the night the enemy was pushed back from the residential areas of the humans but the fighting in the central city was still vicious and no quarter was asked or given. Peter and Swiftwing were leading a young Vaga Feline and Wolf towards the central city park to intercept a force of two Vampire, two Canines and three Felines that were heading towards the banking district, an owl far above the small group of enemy kept a close watch on them as Peters group of four tried to get into position to ambush them before they could do any damage to an important part of the cities economy.

Swiftwing melded into a thick bush area where he was invisible, even to Peter’s more than sharp eyes, the trees and bushes seemed to wrap the young  Indian in their leaves so that the boy could not be distinguished from the bushes themselves, Peter used his shifting ability to merge with a cement wall that ran along the path their enemy was following, the Feline boy laid low in the short bushes, his stripes blending perfectly with the shadows from the street lights and the bushes, the Wolf, as wolves were apt to do, simple sat down in the middle of the path, took out a small throwing knife and began to clean his fingernails, he was still in boy form unlike the Feline, he seemed quite happy to whistle a song off tune as he cleaned away.

He well knew that his aura would give him away to the approaching group but the fact he seemed alone would make them pause, that was all the others were waiting for, Peter had set out the plan of attack as they had moved into position, he would take the two wolves while Swiftwing would go after the cats along with the Feline, the Canine boy would go for the Vampires as best he could until one or more of the others was free to help him.

Only the three Vampires were armed and therefore would be the most dangerous but to counter that, the Canine could sustain more damage in a brawl than the other three, the four defenders lay in wait patiently as they heard the approach of the small group, Peter unsheathed his Katana as the boy in the path folded his knife and replaced it in his pocket then looked up at the approaching group.

The lead Vampire looked at the solitary boy on the path and, with an evil smile he held up his hand to stop the others.

"You better move along little wolf, you're outnumbered, just move off and we'll let you live."

The boy looked over the group and decided that if he moved back a few feet he would bring them well within the range of the ambushers so he slowly rose to his feet and smiled at the Vampire as he backed up slightly.

"Now why would a nasty blood sucker like you want to go into the banking district, did they cancel one of your cheques by mistake?"

"None of your business boy now move it along."

" let me think about this,...move along...hmm, nah, I don't think so, I like it here, besides, I like to see blood in the moonlight."

"what the........"

Before the Vampire could finish his sentence, the boy had formed into a seven foot mound of snarling muscle and black fur, his front paws full of sharp long claws, shot out and clamped around the necks of the two Vampire at the front, including that of the leader, lifting the two bodies effortlessly into the air, he opened his jaws to show long canine teeth dripping with saliva, faster than any of the others could move he clamped down on the leaders neck with his jaws and literally tore the Vampires head off his shoulders and contemptuously spat it to the side of the path.

The first attack was so sudden and unexpected that the others took a few moments to realise what had happened but, by then it was already to late, Peter appeared as if by magic just behind the two wolves, his Katana hissed through the air in a deadly ark, decapitating the first wolf before he even knew he was in danger, the second wolf turned towards Peter snarling and ready for blood but the look in his eyes said he knew it was already to late for him as well as Peter's hands reversed the arc of the Katana with expert ease and felt the slight pause as the shining blade sliced effortlessly through the thick muscle and bone of the wolfs neck.

Swiftwing appeared from the greenery as though he had been grown from plant life, he rolled low on the ground, a Kama in each  hand, the street lights caught the quick flash of polished steel as the blades cut expertly through the rear Achilles tendons of one panther, Swiftwing continued his roll into a somersault over the feral scream of the wounded cat and, with consummate ease, landed on the cats back and drove the two shining blades deep into the front chest of the animal and sliced the heart into three pieces then, withdrawing the blades he turned to face the other cats.

One of the other panthers seemed to have its paws filled with yellow and black striped fury as the Feline with Peter landed on the panthers back and was holding hard onto the other cats neck in a typical tiger death grip as his strong rear legs gouged and tore at the flanks sending tufts of black fur into the surrounding scrub as they both howled and growled at each other, the third cat was having trouble trying to free himself from  a number of vines that had somehow mysteriously entangled themselves around his legs.

The second Vampire was now lying on the ground also without a head but the young werewolf now had his hands full as he took two vicious gashes across his back from the third Vampires blade as Peter ran to help him. Swiftwing moved towards the last cat, a look of ancient bloodlust was full in his young eyes as he took in the scene around him, the Vaga wolf was deeply cut across the back but still full of fighting as he forced the Vampire to back pedal as the wolfs claws missed him only by inches, Peter was free and moving in on the Vampire, his partner was finishing off the other panther with a bone crunching closing of his massive and powerful jaws.

Swiftwing moved towards the entangled panther, once there he looked down on the animal as the tiger finished off his own kill and made his way up beside Swiftwing, changing back into the young boy that was underneath the fearsome tiger visage. The panther still tried with all his might to free himself from the constricting vines that wrapped his legs up. Swiftwing looked down on the trapped panther.

"If you surrender now you'll live, keep fighting and you die, your choice?"

The cat tried one more time but the look in his eyes told the truth, he was trapped and he knew it, he stopped fighting the vines and lay down on his belly in a sign of surrender, Swiftwing and the tiger, who had now changed back into a boy, stood back and nodded their agreement of the panthers decision.

Meanwhile, Peter had moved in on the Vampire, as he got close he called for the wolf to back off and join the others around the panther, the last Vampire turned on Peter in a defensive stance, his own Katana at the ready for this new attack, what he saw made him pause, the boys aura was young, very young, but it was also weird, he had never seen an aura quite like it, it was a strange mixture of human blue, vampire red and something he had never seen before, a faint shimmer of green.

The vampire looked at the young, newly turned boy and smiled, he was over four hundred years old, a newly turned boy like this one would not have the knowledge or experience to beat him one on one, a quick glance told him where the boys friends were but, they seemed to be taking no interest in the two of them, again strange, surely they could see the boy was outclassed, he knew he was not going to survive this exchange, when he killed the boy he would still have to defend against the others and that, he knew, was not going to be any picnic for him, as old as he was.

The boy before him showed no fear as he moved towards him, his flashy Katana at the ready, he saw there may be a way out of this, if not it might make the boy pause and give himself an advantage to attack first.

"Walk away boy, you can't win against me."

"Why would you think that, Vampire?"

"I have four hundred years on you boy."

"True, but you don't have this." said Peter as he turned his right hand so the Vampire could see his house ring. The vampire looked at Peters ring as though mesmerised.

" are ...a...Prince?"

"Yes, I am Prince Vladd of House Vladd the Impaler, I ask you to lay down your sword and surrender or you die now."

"But...but you can't be...we were told we were attacking this city because it has been taken over by Vaga thugs and the human government was helping them."

"You've been lied too, now lay down your sword."

"I..I..can't, I gave an oath to fight against you and I've never broken an oath."

"You know this is your end then?"

"So be it, defend yourself Prince Vladd of House Vladd."

The Vampire came in swiftly as only a Vampire can, his blade was a spinning arc of death as he cut and slashed at Peter's defences, the resounding clash of steel could be heard streets away as the two swordsmen fought in the grassy confines of the park, nothing was out of bounds and there were no rules, only survival and the death of their opponent.

It was thrust and parry for a while until the Vampire produced a Tanto in his left hand from nowhere and slashed viciously at Peters left arm, the cut went deep but Peters healing abilities took over and began the healing almost immediately as Peter ran up a nearby wall and with little effort flipped over the head of his attacker and slashed downward with his own blade to open up a deep gash in his opponents left shoulder, making him drop the Tanto on the ground, both antagonists stepped back a pace to resize each other, the fight had been going on for a good ten minutes and neither was showing any sign of weakening except for the  left arm of the Vampire which seemed to be slower to heal than Peters forearm.

Both had slight cuts and gashes in their clothing from near misses but it was obvious that Peter had been the more effective, his ability and training by Sin Yu and the others was beginning to show, again the Vampire attacked, this time Peter stood his ground and, with a move none of his friends had ever seen before, Peter literally double backwards at the waist as the Katana swept over his exposed front, with a midair twist of his young and flexible body, he twisted to his right and brought his own blade in a sweeping arc. the results were evident as the vampire gave a blood curdling scream as his left leg was removed from his body, with this strike it was all but over, even a Vampire was defenceless when on only one leg, Peter looked down on his opponent, his sword arm held at the ready.

"Surrender, you have no chance now?"

"No, finish it, my time has come." as he said this, the Vampire made one last effort to cut the boy standing over him, both he and Peter knew it was a useless effort but with a final sigh, Peter swung his Katana in a fast arc and decapitated the Vampire on the ground before him, it was over for now but he knew there was more days and nights like this to come. Peter walked over to the others where they waited with their captive.

"I see you have a captive, my love, what are we going to do with him?" asked Peter of Swiftwing.

"I thought you might want to question him." replied Swiftwing as he wrapped an arm around Peter's waist and pulled him in close.

"Return to your human form panther, and we can talk, as long as you make no attempt to escape you'll be safe."

The panther transformed back into his human form and turned out to be a teen of about sixteen, Swiftwing muttered a soft chant and the vines retreated leaving the teen free, the teen sat up and stretched his arms and legs as he was released from his bonds, he then looked at Peter with puzzlement.

"Why didn't you kill me as well?"

"Because we want some answers, firstly, your name, where you are from and who gave the orders to attack our city."

"My name is Michael, I'm from a small town in Washington State, I don't know who gave the orders, my pride leader just told us we had a high paying job to do for a Vampire from this state."

"Washington State, you're a long way from home, that’s right over on the other coast, are you telling me the Vampire is bringing in folk from all over the country?"

"I don't know for sure, but a lot of the folk I've met are from all over and they're all being paid by the same Vampire, we never get to meet him, all orders are passed on by cell phone."

"How many of the folk do you think are involved in these attacks?"

"I don't know but I've seen more than a few hundred at some of the parties."

"So where are you all staying?"

"We're all over, some in caravan parks, some in motels and hotels, some just come by truck and cars, most are spread out all over the five states and only go into the towns we're told to attack, we're meant to go after only the humans so when some of the local folk began to attack us we couldn't understand why."

"The Vampire you've all been taking orders from has gone rogue, he has no authority to hire or use any of the folk in these cities, we know who he is but we can't find him, not yet anyway, in time we'll find him and he'll pay for all the trouble he's caused."

"What about me? what's going to happen to me now?"

"Where are the rest of your pride?"

"You killed two of them here, our leader and his mate, there's only myself and two young cubs left, they're at our camper waiting just over the state line."

"Then I will give you an option, you can go back to the cubs and take them home or, you can join our Vaga House and help us, the only other option you will have is to stay and follow the renegade and I can assure you that you will die, take your pick?"

The teen stopped and looked at the four boys in front of him, now that his leader and his mate were dead, they really had nothing to go back to, he was not strong enough on his own to form his own pack and he also had the two young cubs to think of.

"What will happen to the cubs, they've only been turned a few months."

"How old are they?"

"Ones just thirteen, the other is fifteen, our leader had very little compunction in turning kids when they were young, he just wanted to build his numbers and pride any way he could."

"The cubs will be your responsibility, what you decide will be on there behalf as well."

"Then I would like to join one of your Vaga Houses, we have nowhere to go and no pride left, I can't build a pride, I'm not a leader."

Peter turned to the young teen tiger.

"Can you go with him and show him the way to House Vaga, tell your council to get them settled and teach them the rules of the house as well as their obligation to House Vladd."

"Yes Prince Vladd, come on panther, show me where your cubs are hiding and we'll get you home."

The young panther lead the tiger away towards the edge of the city while Peter, Swiftwing and the wolf returned to the center of town to catch up on any of the other patrols that were still around. The night was almost over and most of the attacks had been again repulsed, while both sides had had losses, the enemy had by far lost more men than the defenders, it seemed that the combinations Peter and the other leaders had worked out were more effective than sheer numbers as well as their advantage of home ground and familiarity with the battle grounds.

Nearly all of Peter's forces had sustained some form of injury, it was an inevitable part of the type of fights they had but there had been twenty one losses of life from the Vaga and other helpers that affected Peter the most, even though the losses of the attackers were nearly four to one he still was not happy with the loss of his own people. Trying to accept the fact that there was no other way did not make it any easier, especially as this was only the start and soon he would be responsible for human lives as well.

Peter activated his com unit and called for reports, it was son made clear that the attacks had finished for the time being, he called all units to return to their respective homes and rest, those that had not taken part in the defence of the city were to start their patrols as the sun rose. Peter and Swiftwing returned to their BMW and waited for Sin Yu and the other two to join them for the ride home, Levi and Caleb were waiting there for them to take over while the others rested.

Once home, Sin Yu, Steven and Mbeda went to their room as the shutters fell for the day, Peter and Swiftwing went with Levi and Caleb to the security room to check with the boys on any intercepts, Peter was happy to find that the army personnel were already on their way to the airport outside the city and would be landing around midday, that would give him and Swiftwing about six hours to clean up and rest, the next few hours could turn out to be very busy.

As the two lovers got to their apartment upstairs, the phone rang, Peter opened a line and answered.

"Yes, I'm Peter Vallison." Peter waited while the voice on the other end talked.

"Yes, David Shaw will bring the men out here, we'll be waiting for them at 12.54, thank you colonel."

Turning to his boyfriend he smiled and wrapped an arm around his waist and pulled Swiftwing close beside him.

"I wonder what they would say if they knew we already had the details of their arrival."

"You'd probably send them into a tail spin to find out how we knew."

"That's true, come on love, we need a shower and some sleep before we greet our guests."

The two lovers retired to the bathroom and a long hot shower before running naked to the bedroom, it was nearly an hour later before they both fell into a deep sleep, both fully satiated and relaxed in their need for each other.

Midday seemed to come far to quickly for the two boys, once downstairs they sat at the table to watch the security guards eating lunch, Levi and Caleb had the incoming messages ready for them and any other intelligence that the two computer boys had found, it was quite a stack for Peter and Swiftwing to sort through but half an hour later and they were finished, all the necessary orders had been sent out and plans for the coming night had been set, there was only the matter of the new arrivals to worry about and Peter was not sure what he would be working with.

At 12.40 his security called to say there were a large number of black SUV's at the gate asking for entry and that the name of David Shaw was there recognition. Peter told them to let the cars enter and then along with the other three, went to the front veranda to see them in, Trantor waited at the door behind the boys as the first of the SUV's pulled to a halt in the driveway, the doors sprang open and six soldiers jumped from the car and lined up a short way from the bottom of the steps.

As each car pulled to a halt, the same scenario took place until there were three lines of twenty men lined up in the driveway, David Shaw was the last man to exit the SUV's along with a military officer, David came over to Peter along with the officer, once they stood in front of Peter, David began the introduction.

"Prince Vladd, this is Captain Emery, he's been briefed by General Masters about the situation down here and that you would have overall charge of the operation, Captain Emery, I would like to introduce Prince Vladd, he is the man in charge of the surrounding five states."

The officer looked down at the young teen before him, Peter could read the doubts in the mans mind but said nothing, Emery eventually returned to his military training and could do nothing but accept the boy because that was his orders, he reached out a hand to shake with the boy and was instantly amazed at the power of the young man, his hand felt as though it had been crushed by a steel claw, trying not to flinch, he smiled at Peter.

"My pleasure Prince Vladd, I hope we can work well together, the General said you were experienced beyond your years and that you knew the situation here better than anyone."

"Thank you Captain, I notice your men don't have their arms with them?"

"They're coming in a truck shortly, perhaps you would like to look the men over?"

"Thank you again Captain but I’ve already done that, there's seven that will have to go back, they won't be suitable for this battle, the others are going to be in for a shock but they will follow orders none the less, they're good men."


"I'll explain everything after those seven men have left Captain, they don't need to know what's going on here."

The authoritive sound of the young teen’s voice left no doubt in the Captains mind that this boy knew what he was doing, instead of trying to argue, he asked.

"Which seven men Prince Vladd?"

Peter began pointing out the men he had found would be no good in the upcoming fights, some just did not really have the killer instinct needed and others had major hang-ups about young boys and teens, especially gay ones. Once he had pointed out the men, the Captain gave orders for the men to return to the airport for their trip back to their own units.

After the SUV had left with the men, Peter turned again to the Captain.

"Captain, what I'm going to reveal to you and your men is of the utmost secrecy, only a very small handful of people know about us and that includes the president so when you see what we are, you'll know we have backing from the highest place in the country, your men will be in a little shock at first but I have scanned them all and they are the type to settle in quickly."

"S..scanned them, Prince Vladd?"

"Yes Captain, scanned them, you see, I and most of my friends here are Vampires as well as other species we are fighting a rogue that is causing all the trouble around here."

The look of disbelief on the Captains face lasted less than ten seconds as Peter turned his back on the assembled men and faced the Captain, then, he went into his change, his fangs dropped easily, his eyes turned red and his finger nails lengthened until they were very sharp claws, once he knew the Captain had seen him in his true form, Peter changed back to make it easier for the Captain.

"Holy fucking shit." burst from the Captains mouth before he could stop himself, he backed up a couple of steps and looked again at the young innocent teen standing before him with a smile on his young face. If he hadn't seen it with his own eyes he would never have believed it.

"It's ok Captain, I'm not hungry yet, you and your men are safe from us, we don't attack allies, now you can see why we had to wait for the other seven men to leave before I filled you and your men in."

"I...I saw it and still don't quite believe what I saw." said the stunned Captain.

"When we are changed into these forms we also gain some very particular abilities, one of them is my ability to read your men’s minds, that's how I was able to sort out the others that had to go, it also means that no one can lie to me without me finding out."

"How the hell am I going to explain all this to the men, Prince Vladd?"

"You won't have to Captain, that's my job, yours will be to make sure your men know exactly what’s needed of them and see that it's done."

As Peter finished he got a call on his com from the security guards to say that a truck was asking for entry, Peter gave his ok.

"Your equipment has arrived Captain, would you like me to explain to your men now before it arrives up here?"

"Please Prince Vladd, I'm afraid I'm still a bit shocked to be able to explain it all to them."

"If you would like to give the orders for them to listen to me Captain."

The Captain brought the men to attention and explained that Peter would be revealing something to them that was never to go passed their lips again and that they were all under the utmost secrecy and were liable to life imprisonment if they ever revealed anything about this operation and the people they would meet and work with, he then told them who Peter was by way of introducing him to them.

"Men, this young man is Prince Vladd, you will accord him your full respect at all times and follow any and all orders issued by him or his deputies, is that clear?"

A resounding loud yell of "Sir, Yes Sir." echoed around the still grounds of House Vladd. Peter stepped to the side of the Captain, he knew nothing of military protocol so decided to do it his way.

"Gentlemen, as the Captains has just told you, my name is Poitr Vladd, I'm a Prince of the House of Vladd the Impaler." Peter looked at the vacant stares of the men and smiled. "while you're trying to work out where you've heard that name before I'll ease your minds, Vladd the Impaler was believed to be the basis of Bram Stokers stories of Vampires, not true. Vladd the Impaler was not only my direct ancestor, but he was a true Vampire."

Peter waited for some of the snide comments of disbelief and 'oh yeahs' to subside before he went into his change and stood before the assembled men as a full Vampire Just as Levi and Caleb did at the same time, Swiftwing stood on the side smiling at the looks on the faces of the men, some in horror, some in shock, some in intense interest, Peter changed back as easily as before.

"So gentlemen you can see that all your childhood fears and wonders are real but, that's not all, as you work with us you will see others that you thought were works of fiction, yes I'm talking about Werewolves, Werecats and even Werebirds, we have been on this earth as long if not longer than you have, most of the stories you have seen written or been told are false, we can't be killed as easily as you would believe but there is a way and when you are told, we will be placing our lives and the lives of others in your  hands, don't be mistaken in thinking that you would get away scot free however, there's more of us than you would think, any questions so far?"

Only blank stares met Peters words, it was obvious that the men were totally stunned by the announcement yet no one asked a question, their appearances told a story of disbelief and wonderment but a slow dawning of acceptance for the obvious.

"Very well gentlemen, now to your part, we are in a war of survival, not only for us of the Folk but, for your people as well, we know the Vampire behind it but can not as yet locate him, your part will be to work with some of my people and others to try to cut down the losses to human life and the destruction of property. There are now fifty two of you, ten each will go to the states capitols, the other two will stay here in my house as back up, all your accommodations and food will be supplied by my people, anything you want we will get for you, your duties will be to take up positions on roof tops and take out any of the Folk that are not wearing one of these arm bands."

Peter held up a white armband with his house mark in bright red for all of them to see and become acquainted with.

"Now the one secret we usually keep from everyone, the one sure way to kill any of the folk is to take their head, any other place and you will be in a lot of pain before you die, as an example, let me show you something, Levi, would you care to demonstrate."

Levi nodded with a smile and stepped in front of the ranks of men, with a casual toss he threw his sidearm to his brother and stepped back opening his arms wide, without hesitation, Caleb fired a full magazine of nine rounds into his chest, what the men saw was another shock to their systems, apart from a small staggering backwards, Levi still stood, tearing off his shirt he let the ranks of men watch as the nine bullets slowly worked their way out of his body and dropped to the ground, with a contemptuous look at the bullets, Levi looked at Peter.

"You owe me a new shirt, My Lord." he told Peter with a smile.

The men stood stock still in amazement at the demonstration, if any had doubted Peters words up to that point, there was now no doubts left.

"As you can see gentlemen, you won't kill us too easily, now, you can see the reason for requesting that you be issued only with depleted uranium rounds, you have to destroy the head and those rounds are the only way to make sure. Now each man will have at least two of my people to watch your backs while you are in your respective positions, no one will get near you while you do your job, we will also be on the ground fighting so in all honesty, I ask you to make sure who you're firing at, the enemy will not wear our armbands even if it could save their lives, you'll have to take my word for that, so please remember, any person or animal with an armband is on your side, no mistakes please, we don't take kindly to mistakes, it's just our nature. Soon you will meet some of the other Folk so you don't get any surprises when you see them change, now before you go to your accommodations and pick up your gear, is there any questions?"

Most of the troops looked over to Captain Emery for permission to speak.

"Men, you may speak freely and ask any questions of Prince Vladd, but please remember to show proper respect." replied Captain emery.

The first man was in his early twenties.

"Prince Vladd, what happens if we don't win this fight?"

"Then the Vampire behind it will try to take actions to take over the rest of the states until he rules them all, remember we live a lot longer than you do so he has time is on his side"

"Sir, how old are you?"

"Fifteen, I’ve just started to come into my being, as an example, how old would you say Levi is, the boy who was shot by his brother?"

A number of the men called out ages from seventeen to nineteen, Peter smiled at the answers.

"Both Levi and his brother Caleb are thirty eight years old, in our society they are still considered very young, as a guide I can tell you my father is over four hundred years old and yet looks no more than most of you, when our blood is changed we stay the same age as at that moment of changing."

"Sir, does that mean that when I'm eighty and look it, you will still look fifteen?"

"That's right, our bodies regenerate every night while we sleep as do all the other of our Folk, now one important thing to remember is that some of your targets are going to look like young kids, don't be fooled, most of them are way older than you or anyone you know, now if that's all for now, your accommodation is out at the rear of the house, all your equipment is there waiting for you, I'm sure there will be plenty of time to learn more as the day goes on, at six o'clock there will be a dinner set for you in the main hall here in the house, it's then when you will find out your destinations and meet your backups, thank you gentlemen for volunteering to help us, Captain Emery, if you will let your men retire and if I can see you in the house afterwards."

The Captain saluted and began to send his men out back, he then turned and went up to the house just as Trantor opened the front door for him to enter. 'this is going to be a long night' he thought to himself as he got a look at the inside of the big house for the first time, the main hall alone could house hundreds of people, no wonder the Prince had no problems inviting fifty men to dinner, there was a lot of activity in the hall as a couple of young men rushed about setting up the room for the upcoming guests, of the Prince and his three friends, there was no sign.








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