RESTART 2012

A story of vampires, shape-shifters and American Indians

 

©2014

 

 

Charles W. Bird

thehomeplace1@earthlink.net

 

 

This story is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental. This story may not be copies, transmitted or used in any manner beyond reading for enjoyment without the express, written permission of the author.

 


Prologue

The craft was nearly expended, fuel reserves were at zero as it came crashing into the atmosphere of the bright green and blue world. They had been short of everything, food, water, fuel, they had escaped with hardly more than the clothes on their backs. They had left behind all that they knew, in total ruin and destruction of a war gone crazy with fury and hatred; two world powers battling for supremacy, without regard to consequences. Just twenty-six survivors of a world of billions! As they left, they watched, no other life-ship lifted before their only home exploded into a fiery ball of gasses. They were the last of their kind, just the twenty-six survivors! They were of the race Dracule, peculiar in that they were all shape-shifters and, what in later ages would be called, vampires. They steered their vessel, with the final dregs of fuel remaining, into an arid land located in the northern hemisphere of their new home. No cities, no constructions, no population centers showed on their view screens, they had landed on a primitive world, nonetheless, they had much to be thankful for, they were alive!








Chapter 1 – NEW HOME

Just as the Life Ship touched down, the engines cut off, the fuel tanks were dry. There would be no lifting off again, no exploring with the ship, it was little more than useless scrap. When the storage cells became expended, even the lighting would fail. The twenty-six inhabitants, however, were grateful, of all their civilization, only they were alive. All the rest had been consumed by hate in a destructive war that destroyed the very fabric of their home world. They were all that were left of the Dracule, one of several races that inhabited their home world, and now, they were the only race from their world to inhabit this one.

They had made a pact, before landing that whatever happened in the future, they would live in peace with whatever race or races inhabited this new world. Never again would the Dracule go to war, kill those of another race! They would live in peace with their neighbors. They stripped their craft of all that was was usable and then dismantled the structure of the craft for usable materials. The land they found themselves in was arid and dry, much like that from which they had sprung. They discovered limestone caves reaching deep into the surface of the planet, it was into these caves they descended in an effort to remain in safety. They had detected no large animals nor had they found evidence of intelligent life, but that did not mean that it did not exist.

They took the name of their race to be their family name, hence their leader and Captain became M’belec Dracule. They were a long lived folk, by their calculations, a normal life span would be 2,000 revolutions of this world around its sun. In the succeeding days after the landing and after they had created a place of living, they began to explore.

One of their number, T’banis, was particularly skilled at assuming the shape of a small flying creature, so he ventured out to explore. He projected a continuous commentary, telepathically, back to those remaining in the safety of the cave. He saw a land of sand and rock, little water and scrub vegetation. As he flew further, he caught sight of movement, it was a strange creature, four-legged with boney projections on its head. He theorized that it was a meat animal. Further, he came across several types of felines, reptiles and a small, hairy four-legged creature that slunk and hid at each bush. Very much in stature to what they had on their home world for household pets. He flew for quite some distance and just as he turned to return, he was nearing the end of his endurance, he spotted a group of individuals who walked upright on two legs as they did. He would have to explore this new finding later as he had barely enough strength to return to their cave. This new finding both excited and disturbed the Dracule, ignorance is always worrisome!

The next day, he and another flyer, Cal’eb, said they would continue the exploration. Cal’eb was a larger flyer, but also much slower. They had discovered that the midday hours were quite warm, much more so than they were used to, so the two flyers left as soon as there was sufficient daylight to see. They headed in the direction that T’banic had seen the two legged beings the day before. As they flew over a low hill, they were greeted with a cluster of structures, obviously not natural, constructed of wooden poles and animal skins. There were many of the two-legged beings moving around in a purposeful manner, obviously with intelligence.

The two circled around, no being on the ground paid any attention to them, so they felt fairly safe. They found that they could receive images and concepts from the beings. They did not dare transmit to them, but what they received indicated an intelligence and sophistication that was surprising. While these creatures had a concept of war, they apparently had an abhorrence of such. This was of great importance and they relayed all they observed and all they received from the creatures back to the Dracule. They began to tire, so it was necessary for them to return. As they were the only accomplished long-distance flyers, further investigation would need to be put off until the next daylight period.

That night, they ate the last of their supplies for the evening meal, of necessity, the next daylight period it would be necessary to hunt for food. Their body mass was slight and they could not store quantities of food energy as fat. Without more food, they would die in a matter of two or three of this world’s revolutions along its axis.

T’lant and L’cep practiced assuming the shape of the feline hunter T’banic had seen on his first trip to the outside world. When they felt confident, they went forth to gain a meat animal for the Dracule to survive. In a short time, the two had brought down two of the meat animals, one had boney projections on its head and the other did not, they found that the one without the projections was the young bearer of the specie, so they decided that they would spare that sex and kill only the males.

The Dracule had evolved from a blood and meat eating specie but they considered a blood or meat only diet to be barbaric, it was, however, better than starvation! Later in the day, after the air temperature had moderated somewhat, T’banic and Cal’eb again flew to observe the bipeds living nearby. They discovered one individual who seemed to be a leader, or, perhaps a shaman. They landed behind a rock and assumed their natural shape. Coming around the rock, they came face to face with the individual they wished to meet.

Using their mental skills, they quickly acquired sufficient knowledge of the language and attempted to speak with the male biped. The being stopped and appraised the two strangers, who suddenly appeared in their midst, unclothed. The individual was, indeed, a shaman of great courage and learning. Instead of running in fear, he began to speak, it took all of the two Dracule’s abilities to understand what was said. The shaman spoke, “You are strangers to us, I see two beings in one body, two spirits with the same face.” He stared for time, then continued, “I do not sense harm in you, come, let us speak of this in council.” The being turned and beckoned the two Dracule to follow him.

The two began to panic, M’belec counseled them to have caution but, at the same time, the need was great for information. The shaman, who they learned was named Wise Eagle, led them to a place enclosed with a circle of stone. As they entered the circle, Wise Eagle blew on a bone whistle that hung from his neck. Three times he blew upon his whistle and another biped, one of immense presence, responded to his call. Wise Eagle, said to this newcomer, “All Chief Fallen Feather, may the Great Spirit look with favor upon you. I bring you strangers, the ones of whom I dreamed last night.” The leader looked at the Dracule visitors and said, “We greet you in peace, may the peace of the Great Spirit be upon you. From where do you come, to where do you go?”

All the while, Cal’eb, being the stronger communicator of the two, transmitted all that took place to M’belec and the rest of their people.

M’belec quickly advised Cal’eb to use caution, but they were in great need of food stuffs that, perhaps, these people would barter with them for. The Chief motioned for them to be seated and the shaman, Wise Eagle spoke, “I perceive that you are not of our people, that you have come a long ways. I see strange distortions of other beings in you, but I sense no harm to our people from you.”

Cal’eb replied, “We have come a great distance to be here, we are from a place beyond your sky. We are refugees, escaping from a terrible disaster that has destroyed our home. The vehicle which brought us here is of no further use, we cannot leave or go elsewhere. If you would help us, trade with us, we would return to our brethren and come before you with our leader tomorrow.”

He clasped the Chief’s left arm in a friendly manner, saying, “I am Cal’eb and this is T’banic. We are different from you and your folk, but yet, we are the same. Tomorrow, our leader, M’belec will travel with us to your circle of stones.”

With that, both returned to their flyer shapes and departed. Wise Eagle watched as the two changed shape and flew away. He said, “All Chief, the dreams of our ancestors are coming to life, the shape-shifters have come. Better we befriend them lest we become their enemies, for they are a powerful tribe. I could feel them plucking information from my head and an echo of them speaking with another. They would make better friends than they would enemies!”

When the two returned to the Dracules’ cave refuge, they again shifted shape and stood before their brethren, saying, “The folk native to this world have knowledge of us from their dreams, they are not frightened of our kind and they have much to offer us. They raise few meat animals as those are plentiful in the wild, but they raise quantities of vegetables, many similar to those of our home world. Their thoughts tell us of their desire to trade us foodstuffs for knowledge.”

M’belec sat, giving careful consideration of their words. He then faced his people saying, “It must be an honorable trade, a relationship based on deceit cannot last, how say you, my folk?” The majority of the Dracule were open in their agreement, however, there were two who closed their minds and, while agreeing publically, M’belec recognized deceit and disagreement within them. He knew there would eventually be trouble from those two.

The Dracule, much like the legends that would follow them down through the centuries, could turn normal beings into vampires by a bite and blood exchange. The turned vampire however, could neither shape-shift nor turn another, neither were they strong telepaths. Turned vampires could not withstand strong sunlight, needing to remain in the shadows or go outside only at night. Only born Dracule had the ability to shape-shift or withstand exposure to sunlight.

The next day, M’belec, Cal’eb, T’banic along with two others, Gar’lin and Hac’eb changed to their favored shapes and traveled to the Native Village. They all adjusted their speed so that the five of them arrived together. As before, the shaman, Wise Eagle, was waiting for them. They, along with All Chief Fallen Feather and a Wise Woman, Blue Sky, walked to the circle of stones and sat.

Wise Eagle spoke first, “We are called the People of the Rocks, we would know how you call yourselves.” M’belec replied, “We are called the Dracule. There are but twenty-six of us, all who survived. We would trade our knowledge for your foodstuffs. We can hunt, but we have no skills in the cultivation of your vegetables. We are a folk who could survive on animal flesh alone, but we choose not to do so.”

Wise Eagle then said, “We are a nomadic folk but yearn for a settled place where we may raise our children in safety.” M’belec replied, “I think, then, we can assist each other, we can show you how to construct dwellings of stone in exchange for your skill in growing vegetables, we can also assist you in medicines and other skills.”

So it was that the Dracule and the People of the Rocks became partners in civilization! The partnership changed the lifestyle of the People of the Rocks, they began to build permanent homes and villages and their numbers increased. Soon, they had villages throughout the area. The Dracule, being longer lived, increased their numbers only slowly, remaining in their caves, making them their permanent home. They turned only a few new vampires, only those People of the Rocks whose illnesses could not be cured.

This did not please two of the Dracule, To’rono and F’lecka, a male and a female Dracule. They refused to contribute to the small community and disrupted the peace and harmony at every chance. Finally, they were accused of turning several of the People of the Rocks against their will and attempting to enslave them.

This was the final outrage, M’belec called a council of his people and laid out the charges against the two. This resulted in the exile of both To’rono and F’lecka. The several turned vampires were given the choice of remaining in the community or being exiled with those who had turned them. Oddly, they chose to go into exile with To’rono and F’lecka. This decision would return to haunt the small community in later years, but, at that time, it seemed the best alternative.

The years rolled by, nothing was heard from the exiles, but a disturbing story of newcomers landing on the morning shore of their adopted land did make its way to them. The People of the Rocks were thriving until, suddenly religious fanatics from an empire to the south, calling themselves Aztec, arrived and started the People of the Rocks, who were now calling themselves Anazazi, to perform strange rituals.

The word Aztec was a native Dracule word meaning ghoul and Anazazi also was a native Dracule word meaning thief. The Dracule felt it was not a coincidence and suspected their exiles to be involved. The Dracule had lived peacefully with the People of the Rocks for six hundred revolutions of the planet around its star and now there was trouble. The Dracule blockaded their caverns and withdrew from contact with the People of the Rocks. They waited for fifty revolutions, a lifetime for the People of the Rocks.

When the Dracule emerged and went looking for their friends, they were gone. Everywhere they looked, the found only destruction, and evidence of cannibalism! Their new home had turned to a charnel house of death.

Chapter 2 – THE HUNT

M’belec sent hunters in all directions, looking for traces of the people known as Aztec, or perhaps, ghoul. All trails led to the south. He asked for volunteers to go with him, about half their people volunteered. They knew that they were partly responsible for had taken place against an innocent people. He took T’banic, Cal’eb, T’lant, L’cap, M’gan, F’lec, Gar’lin, Hac’eb, and R’let. This rounded out a good assortment of skills.

All the turned vampires volunteered, but as they were unable to withstand sunlight, he could not allow them join the search party. The last night he spent with his family, Z’tec, his mate, M’beleci, his son, now have 500 revolutions of the planet around its sun, and Z’teca, his daughter, a very young 200 revolutions old. These three were the most precious things to him, he left Z’tec in charge of the small colony and swore his son, M’beleci to guard his mother and sister with his very life, if need be.

M’beleci, now nearly a man of the Dracule, stood before his Father and said, “Father, I shall keep them safe or I shall not survive. Go you, know that my Mother and my Sister will be here to greet your return.”
The trail was many revolutions old, but still, it led ever south into the land of the Aztecs There, they found that yet another race had conquered the Aztec, a people named “Spaniard” from a continent far to the east, across a sea. After practice, the party was able to shape-shift into an approximation of these new people, the Spaniards. This allowed them to mingle with them and move about without suspicion.

They found traces of their quarry, but discovered they had moved on to the homeland of the Spaniards, so after spending time gathering what the Spaniards desired most, a metal they called “gold”, they arranged their passage to that place. The vehicle of passage was a wind driven vessel called a ship. They were told it would be many tens of days before they would arrive at their destination, a city of the Spaniards called Barcelona.

About half way through their voyage, M’belec was awakened from a sound sleep by a mind-call, “FATHER!” It continued, “Father, I have changed! Is it that I am now a man?” M’belec sat up in his bed with a sense of wonder. It must be M’beleci, but how does he have such range and power?” He thrust as much power as he had into a reply, “M’beleci, my son, if this is you, then indeed you have become a man! A man of such power is not known among our people!”

The reply came back almost immediately, “Father, yes it is I, M’beleci, your son. This is most wonderous, please tell me of your adventures and guide me in what I must now do, for you are now and will forever be, MY FATHER!”

Thus began a new relationship between a father and his devoted son. They found that the son could add power to his father, making it possible for M’belec to initiate long range mind speech and reading, swifter and more complicated shape shifting and he found that he could now control the vision of others, making them not see him! It was a time of father-son bonding at a level theretofore unknown among the Dracule. Each could now experience the thoughts, feelings and actions of the other.

From afar, M’belec was able now to converse with his beloved mate, Z’tec and his daughter, Z’teca as if he were in the same place with them. M’belec’s chest swelled with pride as he instructed his son in the duties of an adult Dracule Man. The day came, when M’beleci was ready, he called all the Dracule and their turned vampires to the main cavern of the Dracule Colony. He stood before them and said, “My Father, M’belec joins me in greeting you for this day the mantle of leadership of the Dracule falls to me, M’beleci, son of M’belec. Hear the words of my Father”

He then projected an image of his father, M’Belec, standing beside him. M’belec began to speak, “My people, I, M’belec, am inside a wooden vessel floating upon the sea headed for a place called Espana. My son, M’beleci has become a man, such a man as we Dracule have never before witnessed! By the power of HIS mind, I speak to you now! By the power of HIS mind, I stand before you now! Such power has never been known among us, but now exists in my son. Each of you, I charge, M’beleci speaks with my voice, M’beleci acts with my approval, M’beleci acts in my place” He concluded, I and my companions travel far into unknown dangers, unknown distances and unknown places. However long it takes us, we will prevail against these traitors of our kind. Until I should return or in the event I do not, M’Beleci is now the leader of the Dracule!”
He finished, “Lead wisely, my son, M’BELICI – CAPTAIN OF THE DRACULE!”
M’beleci turned to his gathered people, “Dracule, we must end our days of hiding. We have an obligation to the folk of this world, our hosts, to make their lives better and in that way, our own.” Continuing, he said, “Let the Dracule go forth to the outside world and you, our loved and loyal Turned Vampires, stay within our caves of safety, guard and nurture our young, be our partners in taking our place in this world.”

From that day forward, the Dracule travelled the outside world, forming new alliances with the folk they encountered. Most were nomads, struggling to survive in a hostile environment. The Dracule gave them seeds they had saved from their encounters with the People of the Rocks. They showed them how to make bows and arrows, better spears, how to work certain stones to create sharp points and cutting edges. They showed them medicinal plants and how to prepare them and, lastly, they assisted them in caring for their ill and injured.

M’beleci formed a group of younger Dracule, those who recently had attained adulthood, both males and females as both sexes were WARRIORS. He named them “THE GUARDIANS” and they accompanied him whenever he set forth in the outside world. They traveled far and wide, meeting new folk and lending a helping hand to those they had already encountered.

They were returning from an extended trip that had taken them as far as the area of cold and ice far to the north and were camped for the night. The Night Guardian awakened M’Beleci, “Captain, a person cries in the darkness, it is a young male and mind touch tells me he is hurt, hungry and nearly consumed with fear.”

M’beleci ordered him to waken two additional Guardians and then return to his post. When the two Guardians joined their Captain, M’beleci said, “Let us find this injured young person and care for his needs.” Using careful mind touch, they pinpointed where the youth lay and went directly to him. What they found caused them distress and horror, a young male human lay, severely clawed by a wild animal.

M’beleci knelt beside the injured young human and gently lifted his head, saying, “Will you let us care for you, as severely hurt as you are, we can help.” The youth replied, “I know I am dying, will you assist me in joining my fathers?” M’Belici replied, “That may or may not be so, will you allow us to carry you to our living place and try to help you?”

The boy nodded yes, so M’beleci gently picked him up and carried him to their camp. As the night faded into day, they saw just how severe the human’s injuries were. M’bleci said to the boy, “I cannot repair your injuries and you will die, but if you will allow us, we can yet preserve your life.”

The boy looked M’beleci in the eyes and said, “Are you of the Shape-Shifters our legends speak?” M’beleci answered, “If you will let us help you, we will speak more of that later.” The boy nodded his agreement as he again lost consciousness.

M’bleci picked the boy back up and ordered his Guardians to accompany him back to the Colony. It was nearing dusk as they entered the caves, M’beleci took the youth directly to his Mother. She said, “Son, if it is your decision to turn him, he must first agree and it must be done soon, he is fading fast.” M’beleci and his Mother washed the youth and he returned to consciousness. M’beleci said to him, “I can change you and make you well. You will no longer hurt, your injuries will be healed. But, there is a cost to this, you will no longer enjoy the open sky during the daylight and you will live many years without growing older. If you wish this, you must tell me, otherwise you will be dead soon.”

The boy began to cry, “Who will love me, who will care for me, how will I live?” M’beleci hugged him and told him that he would be loved and cared for, the Dracule would be his people and he would live with them for many years if he so chose. The youth thought for a while and then said, “You, who know me not, have cared for me, tending my hurts and ask me to live with you. If you will let me live with you, I will serve you all my days.”

M’beleci said, “Brother, we have no slaves among us, you will be a free MAN, sleep now and when you awake, you will be renewed.” As soon as the youth slept, M’beleci himself performed the necessary blood exchange, making him M’beleci’s own childe” The youth would sleep in M’Belici’s lap for the next six days and, on the seventh day, he would arise a new being.

Back in Espana, M’belec and his followers continued to track the traitors. They had been on their trail now for fifty revolutions of the planet around its sun and they still had not caught up to them. In his frustration, he called out to his son, M’belici and asked him if he could project sufficient power to show them where the traitors were hiding. M’beleci answered immediately and began channeling power to his father.

M’belec felt almost as if he was going to explode, the mental energy was so great. His vision finally cleared and saw the traitorous two, they were in a town called Frankfort, in a land called Germany. He used a portion of his precious supply of gold to purchase a fast carriage and two teams of horses. They left immediately in pursuit of the traitors.

In the darkened caves of the Dracule Colony, M’beleci sat patiently beside the youth, waiting for him to awaken from his ordeal for transformation. The youth had been sleeping for six days and now it was the seventh day, it would be usual for him to awaken about now. M’beleci’s Mother brought some food for him to eat while he waited and they sat talking. Z’tec, his mother said, “We must watch carefully, my son, so much about you is unusual, it may be that your childe may also be exceptional. Only time will tell us.”

About that time, the youth began to stir, without thinking, he called out in mind contact, “Help me, I cannot see” M’beleci put his hand on the youth’s shoulder to calm him and projected back, “You cannot see because of the darkness. First, how do you wish to be called, you are a new being now?” The youth returned, “How is it we are speaking but I am making no sound?” M’beleci replied, “You are different now, we speak mind to mind with each other. If you will rise, I will show you”

The youth ran his hands all over his body in wonder, “My injuries are gone, how can that be?” He sat up, unsure of himself and continued, “I feel stronger than I have ever felt before, truly I am a new person. May I be called BEAR, for such is strong and fearless, he protects his own and is a mighty warrior?” M’beleci chuckled and said, “Welcome home, Brother Bear! Are you hungry?”

Bear replied, “I am hungry enough to chew on rocks!” M’beleci told him that would not be necessary, there was food in the kitchens. The youth stood and exclaimed, “What have I become, I feel so very different?”

M’beleci replied, “Come with me, let us eat and I will explain all to you.” As they ate, M’beleci explained to Bear that he was now a vampire and that he would not be able to tolerate sunlight ever again. He was now stronger, faster, and would become larger than his human brothers. He would have long life, perhaps as long as 2,000 revolutions of the planet around the sun. The youth spoke up and said, “You mean, years?” M’beleci asked, “That is your word for a complete cycle of seasons?”

Bear told him that it was and M’beleci continued telling him about his new self. He said that it was unusual for a turned vampire to be able to mind-speak but he was happy for it and hoped Bear would come to love his new home and condition. Bear wept and said, “My new condition is that my hurts are healed, my stomach has been filled, a man sits beside me to comfort and reassure me, he tells me I am safe and that I will live 2,000 years! How could I be anything other than happy?”

He continued, “Let me serve you, let attend your needs for all my life.” M’beleci stood and said, “No, Bear, we will have no slaves among the Dracule. Yes you can be with us, yes you may assist us, but only as a free man, free to determine your own course, free to do as you think best. We will make slaves of no being, it was that which destroyed our home world, we will not make that mistake ever again!”

In Germany, M’belec and his companions finally caught up with the traitors, To’rono and F’leka. The two had created a small army of turned vampires and were waiting in ambush for their pursuers. They fought a running battle for many days and nights, many of the vampires were killed before the traitors escaped and continued their flight.

The victory was not without cost, M’belec was severly wounded and Cal’eb was killed. They buried Cal’eb at the edge of the forest, giving him what honors they could. M’belec’s wounds were severe and much time passed before he was able to take up the chase. The trail had gone cold, it was ten years before they again were on the traitor’s trail. This time, they were headed into the rugged mountains east of Germany, mountains that separated that country from the steppes between Germany and the icy northern wilderness. It was rugged, terrible country they were entering, cold wintry blasts were the norm and the inhabitants matched the countryside!

In the Dracule Colony, a friendship was building between M’beleci and his turned vampire childe, Bear. M’beleci refused to allow Bear to call him Master, so the youth settled upon the word, Maker! This suited M’beleci only slightly better than Master, but he understood that Bear had to call him something and that was better than Master! They found that Bear had some tolerance to sunlight, he could safely go outside for a few hours past dawn and the same few hours before dusk without harm. This, like his mind capabilities, was a new thing for the Dracule and it made M’beleci stand out even more as an unusual being!

M’beleci had been on a tour with his Guardians and was late returning, Bear was becoming anxious for the safety of his Maker, so he was outside watching for their return. He could have mind-sent, but that was so new to Bear, he was reluctant to try it. As he was waiting, he heard an unusual noise, having learned caution, he cast his mind around the area and came up against a wall of fear and pain. A pain so great, it was terrifying to Bear, he ran in the direction of the line of fear, as he rounded a large rock, he came upon a group of boy children confronted by a panther.

One child was severely mangled and the other two were bleeding from numerous deep scratches and bites. He screamed at the panther and ran towards it, the panther took fright and ran leaving the children to Bear. He had no idea that he had presented a giant bear shape to the frightened cat!

Bear gathered up the mauled child, screaming out his rage and fear for the boy, the strength of his mind call was so great, M’beleci heard him and answered, “Bear, my brother, what has happened?” Bear, without thought replied, “Maker, I have three hurt children, come at great speed or they will not survive!”

M’beleci immediately shifted to an eagle form and raced to the point of Bear’s call, homing in on his mind. He landed and shifted back to his natural shape, one of the little boys was terrified, he screamed, “Shape shifter, we are doomed” M’beleci knelt and picked up the small child saying, “No little one, you are not doomed, my mother is a good cook and she will have a stew ready for us.”

The small child was not ready to believe, but his mind spoke of hope. By that time, the Guardians had caught up to M’beleci and the third child was placed in the tender arms of a Guardian for transport to the Colony. Bear, holding the mauled child said, “Maker, this child is hurt beyond our help, only YOU can save him. I beg of you, do not let this child die” tears were pouring from Bear’s eyes, M’beleci told him, “Brother, I could not let this child pass from us, even had you not asked. Do not beg what I would give freely. Yes, we will save this precious child.”

With that, the group ran to the Caves of the Colony. Z’tec, M’beleci’s mother, had been warned of her son’s arrival with hurt children, she had warm water and washing cloths ready. As they cleaned up the most severely hurt child, Bear said, “Maker, this child cannot answer your questions as I did, I, your childe, Bear, ask that you turn this child as you did me, I will accept responsibility for what he becomes. Please save him!”

M’belci replied, “Brother, I can do no less than what you ask, it will be done.” As his mother assisted Bear in readying the child for turning, M’beleci examined the other two children. While their hurts were serious, they were not life threatening and would heal in time. One of the boys was awake and spoke to M’beleci, “The panther would have killed us, but a giant bear chased it away!”

M’beleci examined the child’s mind and confirmed that indeed a giant bear had chased the panther away. He was confused, the only being with the children was his Brother, Bear, he vowed to investigate this further.

His mother put healing salves on the two boys and M’beleci took the seriously injured boy into another cave and performed the blood transfer needed to turn the child into a vampire. They would have to wait seven days before he would again awaken.

M’belec and the small troop had traded their carriage and teams for riding horses and continued to follow the spoor of the renegade Dracule. It was a miserable, dark, forbidding country in which they rode, small villages inhabited by a folk suspicious of all strangers who refused to share food or information. Finally, they came across the corpse of a young woman who had clearly been killed by having her blood drained from her body, there were vampire fang marks on her neck. The body was only hours old, they were getting close to their quarry.

M’belec was becoming anxious for his son and his family, they had been on the chase for two hundred years now! At last, they had their quarry cornered, there was no possibility they could escape, the two renegades were not strong flyers, to the north was a frozen sea and to the east was a trackless waste of ice and snow. To the south was an endless sea of sand and stone, their only avenue of escape was blocked by M’belec and his band. The renegades had, however, amassed a horde of nearly one hundred turned vampires.

M’belec called upon his son, M’beleci, for assistance. Even at a half a world away, his son’s metal power was immense! M’beleci poured power into his father, who then broke thru the mental barriers the renegades had set up and transmitted directly to the turned vampires, “We are going to destroy your masters, a turned vampire cannot survive long without a master. You have your choice, come to us and we will allow you a new chance, stay with your masters and die with them. You have one day to decide.”

He then set up a mental barrier around the stronghold using the strength and power given him by his son. Once the barrier was in place, he began to squeeze it tighter and tighter. To those inside the stronghold, it must have been like the inside of a mental hurricane! All day and all night, M’belec, with power assistance from his son, squeezed the stronghold. Just before daylight a group of about thirty vampires, waving a white flag, ran from the stronghold.

When they reached the attacking group, they lay down their swords and spears, they sat as a group against a large rock outcrop. Using the power lent to him by M’beleci, M’belec rendered them unconscious and then covered them in snow that the sunlight of day would not harm them.

The attack began, all day and into the night the fighting continued. About midnight, a body fell from the stone wall and was crushed by the rocks. A Dracule, under cover as scavenger, retrieved the body. It was F’leka, one of the renegades.

They cut off her head to ensure it was not a trick and then pressed the attack even harder, turned vampires on the walls began to smoke and burst into flames from the energy being poured into them. At long last, a white flag was shown and a turned vampire walked from the stronghold under a flag of truce. He said, “Our master, To’rono is dead, we surrender to your will and are bringing his body out now.”

At those words, a solemn group of turned vampires bore a body on a litter out of the stronghold. They slowly marched across the snowy field towards the waiting Dracule. The body was, indeed, that of To’rono. To insure his death, a Dracule drove his sword into the chest of the body, no movement took place.

As M’belec turned, the body jumped up and with a single swing of a sword, chopped M’belec’s head from his shoulders. The other Dracule hacked the body of To’rono to pieces and burned all the parts, but there was no second revival for M’belec. The great Captain of the Dracule was truly dead.

At the moment of his Father’s death, a half a world away, M’beleci leaped from his bed screaming, with tears flowing from his eyes he proclaimed, “MY FATHER IS DEAD, THE CAPTAIN IS DEAD! HE HAS PASSED HIS MANTLE TO ME, M’BELECI, HIS SON!”

CHAPTER 3 – A NEW BEGINNING

Bear ran to his friend and mentor, M’beleci. Little Bear, the boy they had saved from the panther, also came running. They both supported M’beleci in his grief. The two little boys, companions of Little Bear, Cloud and Roaring Water, ran through the caverns to wake all the Dracule, but they were already awake, the mental blast they received from M’beleci could have shifted whole mountains.

Z’tec, mother to M’beleci put aside her own grieve over the death of her mate in order to help their son. M’beleci had been in mental bond with his father at the time of his death, M’beleci had felt his father die. It was an ordeal no son should ever have to face, but M’beleci was not an ordinary son he was, perhaps, the greatest Dracule to have ever lived.

In the midst of his sorrow, he knew he had to reach out not only to his people, but also his mother and sister that their sorrow might be shared, their grief supported. He would attend his own sorrows and grief at a later time, his family and his people needed him now. He stood, holding his mother’s hand in one hand and his sister’s in the other, he said to his people, “We Dracule have suffered a great loss, a loss, perhaps equal to the loss of our home world, but we have new responsibilities now.” He wrapped his arms around the three little boys and held the hand of Bear saying, “We have these responsibilities.”

He then pointed out the entrance of the caves and continued, “We have made ourselves responsible for those outside the walls of our caves, we cannot, we must not, we will not abandon those who have no hope, no help, no future without our help to survive. My father died protecting this world from evil, we can do no less.” He dropped his arms and stood at attention, “People of the Dracule, it is our purpose, it is our destiny to assist the folk of this world, we shall start with its children!”

After standing for a few seconds, he continued, “We shall go forth from this place providing help and succor to those in need, shelter and protection to those without, assistance and knowledge to those wishing success. We are the DRACULE and THIS is our DESTINY!” With that, M’beleci collapsed to the floor.
Bear ran to him, warding off all others, “This is MY DESTINY!”
At that, he picked up M’beleci, his friend and in his mind, his MASTER and carried him to his private sleeping cave, His companions, the turned vampire, Little Bear and the human boys Cloud and Roaring Water stood guard at the entrance allowing none to enter. Bear covered the sleeping M’beleci and sat at his side making sure nobody disturbed his Master.

Bear had nearly as much mental power as a normal Dracule, enough to ward off all inquiries and concerns of the Dracule People while M’beleci recovered. It would be a year before the Dracul War Party returned home. They had buried the body of their leader, M’belec where he fell.

The captured turned vampires were brought back to the Colony as captives until they could be interrogated and found safe or executed.

It required several days for M’beleci to recover his equilibrium, in that time his companions guarded his body and person with the vigor of a wounded leopard. Several times his concentration faltered and his Great Bear stood beside the man he would serve for the remainder of his long life.
The Guardians stood watch over the folk of the Colony, allowing harm to come to none. As he began to recover, M’beleci, thought about the strange occurrence with the Great Bear chasing the panther away from the boys, finally, he called for Bear and questioned him. Bear said, “Master, I cannot hide what I did from you, yes, it was I.” M’beleci started to anger over the word “Master” and Bear calmly said, “No, Master. You cannot avoid what you are. You will be my Master for all my days. Accept it.”

At that, the small voice of Little Bear was heard in both M’belec’s and Bear’s minds, “Master, I, Little Bear, repeat Bear’s words, you are my Master until the end of my days. Do not take this from us.”

M’belci sat down in defeat and then said, “We will speak no more of this but I ask you both not to tell anyone of Bear’s ability to shape-shift.” They heard Little Bear’s mental giggle, “What about my bear cub shape?” All anyone on the planet heard was M’beleci mental shriek, “WHAT?” He sat on his bed, holding his head in his hands, “What have I done; What have I done?”

Little Bear sat on one side of M’belci and Bear sat on the other. Bear said, “What have you done, you have given us more tools to help those in need, Master. You lead and we will follow you, you show us and we will do for you, you tell us and it will be done for you. We are nothing without you, you are MASTER!” It was going to take M’beleci a very long time to accept that he had turned two vampires of exceptional abilities never before known in all Dracule history!

Over the next several months a schedule was worked out. They divided the Guardians into three groups, two of the groups would be led by a turned vampire, either Bear or little Bear. The groups led by the turned vampires would go out either early in the morning or very late afternoon. The third group would be led by M’beleci himself and would go out during the brightest part of the day.

They were beginning to acquire horses, Bear already knew how to ride and Little Bear was familiar with horses. When all were mounted, every day one group would sweep the area around the Colony, watching for strangers, looking out for the hurt and helpless and guiding travelers to the few sources of water available in that arid land.

They began to hear stories of a folk with white skin coming to live in the lands far to the east of them. They did not think this was a concern to them, after all, the Spaniards had come to Mexico and had but little effect upon them. One day, Little Bear was leading his group on a sweep towards the northern most water source in their area. They came across a group of people with many children. They were a sullen lot and refused to allow the Guardians to come near them.

This pricked the attention of Little Bear. He had been training his mental abilities with Bear and M’beleci, his Master. Being small and childlike, the strangers did not consider him a threat. As he came closer to the group of children, a concept struck him like a thrown knife, “SLAVE”!

Little Bear was stunned, almost to the point of falling off his horse. His mental cry went out, “MASTER!” All the Dracule heard his mental cry, M’beleci called for all his Guardians and they rode direct for Little Bear’s continuing mental wailing. When they arrived and all the Guardians understood what was taking place, the warriors lit into the guards surrounding the children with a fury, when they finished none remained only a pile of broken parts showed where the guards had been.

The children were milling around, in fear! M’beleci dismounted and motioned Little Bear and Bear to follow him. M’beleci knelt down among the children and Bear and Little Bear did likewise. They did not know the language of the children, but they could mind-speak to them. Children accept mind-speak far easier than adults at first.

M’beleci sent to them that they were friends and would care for them, feed them and protect them. At that point, a boy, somewhat larger than the rest stepped forward and started to speak. They could not understand his speech, but they could understand his thoughts. He told that they had all been stolen from various tribes, many of their tribes were small and the raiders killed everyone, except the children. The rescue party was shocked, many openly crying.

Little Bear thought to the children, “This is our leader, M’beleci, we call him Master, but he is not, he is our friend and companion. If you will come with us, we will feed you, give you new clothing and a warm bed in which to sleep this night and all nights if you desire to stay with us.”

He looked around and continued, “Many of you have been hurt, I can see that some of you have been abused and had bad things done to you. Master can heal your hurts and sooth your souls while he fills your bellies with good food.”

Bear took up the narration, “I am Bear, Little Bear and I are different from you, we cannot stay out in the bright sun long, but we are also like you. I promise, if you come with us, you will be safe, clean and never hungry.” At that, Bear stood and started walking towards the Colony, leading his horse.

Not a single child stayed behind, all thirty of them trooped after Bear as the others watched, open mouthed in astonishment of Bear’s diplomacy. Out of thirty children, only one was so badly hurt that turning was the only option.

Z’tec watched in amazement as the children trooped into the caverns of the Dracule. She sent women in all directions gathering clothing and supplies for the children, she decided that, by morning many things would need to happen, but the first job would be the making of soap!

The women of the Dracule were delighted, for the first time since their exodus from the home–world, they could hear the sounds of happy children at play, a sound that brought tears to the eyes of many. In the middle of the night, the entire colony was awaked by the screams of Z’teca, M’beleci’s younger sister.

M’belici went running to her room, quickly followed by Z’tec, their mother. Z’tec found M’beleci sitting beside his sister, his arms wrapped around her saying softly, “I know, it will pass. You are a woman now, an adult of the Dracule. I sense what you have is what I have, we ARE brother and sister.” He turned to their mother and said, “My sister is complete. She has my power, she is my OTHER HALF!”

He continued, “With your help, mother, I will guide her into this new life. She is a powerful woman and you have made her good. Together we shall lead our people out of these caves and into the light of freedom!” After M’beleci had calmed Z’teca and their mother, he led his newly adult sister to the meeting cavern where all the Dracule has assembled.

Holding her hand, he announced to all, this is my sister, Z’teca, daughter of M’belec and Z’tec. She has reached her adulthood, I ask your acceptance of her as my Co-Captain of the Dracule. There were none who refused his request.

He turned to her and said, “It is time that we accept or reject those who were turned by the renegades, join Bear and myself as we examine them.” The three of them went to the place of confinement, where there were thirty turned vampires who had voluntarily surrendered to their father, M’belec during the battle between the renegades and the Dracule.

The renegades and their loyal followers had been totally destroyed, but these had willingly abandoned the renegades and requested asylum from the Dracule. M’beleci and Z’teca sat and ordered that Bear escort each vampire before them that they might question them. There could be no false testimony, the brother and sister pair mentally interrogated each.

Those that they found to be false were terminated by a blast of mental power so great, only Bear could stand near them. Of the thirty turned vampires, only twelve survived the ordeal. No turned vampire had the powers of Bear and Little Bear and none could challenge M’beleci or his sister, Z’teca. Bear assumed command of the turned vampires and led them away, to be integrated with the Guardians. Within days the Guardians and turned vampires were riding throughout the area, guarding small settlements, rescuing those in need, teaching newcomers the ways of growing food in an arid land and settling disputes between neighbors.

No longer were raiding parties allowed to roam freely, no longer could children be snatched from their parents and made slaves, no longer were the native folk of the land made to go hungry for the lack of food. In return, the Dracule received foodstuffs grown by the people, trade flourished and knowledge freely given. The Dracule provided medical assistance when asked and demanded no payment in return. Peace reigned under the umbrella of Dracule protection. A school was established where the children rescued from the slavers could learn, it was opened to any child from the surrounding area with permission of the parents.

The Dracule also flourished, children were born and couples formed new unions. For a period of two hundred years, peace and prosperity flourished in the area. But, it was not to last, the great beast of destruction was on its way!

Chapter 4 – UPHEAVAL

The night was tortured with the land shaking and great groans coming from the Earth itself. The Dracule ran from their caves lest they be crushed by falling rock. Great chasms opened up, mountains fell and rivers leaped from their beds. Smoke and fire billowed from the Earth, noxious gases swept the land. By daylight, all the Dracule could see was death and destruction. They had saved the human children and their own folk, but the surrounding villages were gone!

Little could be saved from their cave homes, they were, again, refugees. M’beleci sent flyers to scout the damage. To the south and west, all was destroyed, it was a tumble of wrecked mountains and lava flowing freely across the land. To the east, a sea lapped at new shores, only to the north did there seem to be a chance of safety.
As they sorted through their own wreckage, a few hurt and sickened humans struggled their way to them in hope of succor and care, many so injured, turning was their only hope of survival. Bear and Little Bear organized the Turned Vampires, offering aid and medical help to all who asked for it. They rounded up what horses and flocks that had survived and harvested the few crops remaining. As they retrieved what few belongings that had survived the destruction of their homes, the Dracule came to the realization that they must abandon the area in order to keep those whom depended upon them, safe.

As soon as those who were injured had recovered from their hurts or had awakened from their turning sleep, M’beleci and Zeteca gathered the people and traveled in the only direction that appeared safe, northward. The rumblings, quakes and fire from the tortured earth continued many days. Their trek required detours around such events and destruction that would have devastated any other people.

Flyers were sent out to scout the land, an area of relative calm was discovered many day’s trek to the north and the refugees started out in hopes of finding safety. They found an immense valley, with a lake in its center, water was in abundance and the soil fertile.

It was here the Dracule and human refugees settled. There they built their village and, for the first time since leaving their home-world, the Dracule resided in homes, not caves. They planted crops, raised flocks and both races lived in harmony. The Turned Vampires, led by Bear and Little Bear assisted both Human and Dracule alike. The Guardians assured safety of all and, again, schools were opened, learning thrived. Both races looked to M’beleci and Z’teca as their Leaders and Captains.

M’beleci was confused, he had turned Little Bear and he knew Little Bear was a turned Vampire. Only, he wasn’t! Turned Vampires could not shift shape. Turned Vampires were sunlight sensitive. Little Bear exhibited none of these things. M’beleci could only conclude that Little Bear had become that, which was thought to be only a theory, he was a Hybrid Human!

The seasons passed, the harvests were abundant, the herds thrived and the new colony and its peoples began expand. Suddenly, a mind–call shrieked, “STRANGERS APPROACH!” A new era was about to begin. M’beleci was confronted with Little Bear, in tears and nearly incoherent, “He comes, My beloved comes!” It was then that M’belici new the truth of his suspicions.

TBC
Who is it that Little Bear has sensed? What will it mean to M’belici and the Dracule?

 

 

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