The HMS Beagle

Deep within the Lincolnshire countryside.

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Baylor stood watch from just outside the grove while their horses were tethered in a thicket a to the south.  Hans had brought his own saddlebags with him to the ancient clearing in which he now stood. He remembered, when this was a place of power, before William’s arrival. Druids had consecrated it as a grove at the behest of Lycans. Now, the oaks would tower over the mast of any ship of the line, but without Lycans or Druids to tend them, the trees had sickened. If Siguardson’s research proved correct, once felled, this sickly grove would provide Hans with the heartswood that he needed.

In these most recent nights, Hans rarely ventured forth in this fashion. Baylor was nominally more active, having traveled to the Americas, and Canton for his own affairs. Hans had focused upon hiding his powerbase in plain sight. A Lasombra amidst the most powerful Ventrue realm, seemingly loyal and antitribu. Yet, Mithras lay in slumber once again, and in his sleep the ancient’s lands had become restless with growth.  This in turn affected the world at large, for their was no greater power than the British, and in their growing empire, no power greater than Mithras. Proof of this was shown by how deeply the Treaty of Nanking took the headlines and attention of the mortals and Cainites alike. The world seemed under British control, and Mithras’ servants were always at the forefront, though not always carrying out the exact orders that they had been given by the ancient. His hold was slipping.

With over eight centuries of perspective he could now see that events had become cyclical. There was a natural ebb and flow to the world, one that even a mortal could detect if they looked closely enough. He had seen it in the black forest during the renaissance. Wolves would hunt their prey to near extinction, only to find themselves hunted by humans. Nearly wiped out, the remaining wolves would move into the deeper woods and whelp pups. In that time, hare and deer would return in force, and the cycle would begin again. The Cainite world was no different, the duration of the cycles was merely longer.

A Cainite would beget Childer if they were powerful enough. The Childer rose in power if they were deserving, and in time they would embrace in turn. With their own Childer under their control, the strongest would overthrow the weakest elders, and take their place. He had seen this thrice already, and soon it would happen again. As he settled his saddlebags upon the ground, he mused over his own line. It now ran further than he had intended, and like this grove it must be culled. So many years ago, his own Childer’s efforts had bore fruit in ways that he had not imagined at the time. That had taken both time and secrecy.

Focusing his vitae, Hans summoned forth several tendrils of shadow at the base of each tree in the grove. They would serve as his silent billhooks. No rapport of axes would echo throughout the night. The grove would merely fall in silence, seemingly from a force within.

Baylor approved of what he intended, but his closest companion still did not understand why he must do this. He merely accepted it.  Tonight he would begin to silently cull the rot from this grove and then collect what he needed. Then from his line, then from Baylor’s line. In time they each hoped to continue culling, each from his own Clan, leaving only the strongest to grow.

 

 

The Tree of Liberty

Please take the caution that this extends. The following post may disturb younger viewers.
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“It has been four nights and your body is failing. This grows tiresome, and I fail to see a reason for a fifth night. You must forsake that which kills you.” As she spoke, Vykos ran a sharpened talon along Michel’s forearm slowly, back and forth in a zig-zagging pattern. A line of blood trailed from the razor thin incisions, proof that Michel’s healing ability had failed. “I have your seed already, captured during your stay in the hospital. Your blood…well…I took enough before the silver polluted it.”

As Vykos began to slide his talon upwards, along Michel’s arm to his shoulder, then down and along his chest. Michel felt his creators lips upon his ear, an odd sensation at this stage. The pain was generally an empty numbness at this point, except when his creator chose to toy further with him. He had learned that it was then that the pain worsened, always in ways he had not previously understood. His tongue had been removed last night after he had tried to lick a wound closed. Vykos had severed each strand of muscle separately, then cauterized the ends, resulting in minimal blood loss, but extreme agony.

With his creators lips upon his ear, the whisper that followed carried aspects of both seduction and terror. “I shall create a litter of pups from your seed, to be born by a few strong she wolves. You would enjoy that won’t you? Fading as you are, but doing so while knowing that your seed resulted in many more little pets, that I could then breed together for the traits I need. Your pedigree is strong my child, a fine line of dogs, but not domesticated enough. A fruit not yet ripe when I plucked you from the tree. With no way to put you back on the branch. How can I reconcile this? Why should I not focus on what I need? Why should you not for that matter? Your sons and daughters shall be breed to produce for me, a solid Alpha.” She ran her tongue along Michel’s earlobe and then pulled it into her mouth where she nipped it. “I can taste it now, the silver. It’s a spice that I enjoy.”

Vykos pulled her lips away, only to grab Michel by what hair remained. She shook his head violently, but not forcefully enough to cause damage. “IF ONLY YOU COULD SEE ME BE SO HAPPY MY PET! I THRICE DAMN YOU RODRIGO!” Her outburst faded as suddenly as it had occurred, her lips returned to his ear, playing with it. Her voice again became a playful whisper. “Your blood my child… your blood is the key. It shall power an ancient terror. One that the parables of blood say, was embraced on the night when stones spoke and the skies cried a blood rain. One that shall chip away at the keystone of the Ivory tower. Ancient shall combat ancient while the Sabbat pulls their strings.”

Her lips pulled away from his ear, not that he could tell. He was now in a haze, one of pain, and dreams of blood. She patted him upon the head and roughened his hair. “While I tire of you, mayhaps I shall allow you to see this description wrought by your blood.” She slid a needle into his arm, one far thicker than the IV drip. The faint hum of machinery came to life somewhere behind him. “Fear not child, I have need of this sanguine formula. I will leave you with something untainted by Lupine.” If he could feel, Michel would have felt the blood being sucked through the needle in his arm, while his creator inserted a separate needle into his other arm. Involuntarily, Michel’s body flinched at the machine powered flow of blood. “Does it hurt my pet? Oh…. I forgot a cat has your tongue.”

Lifting the Veil

Michael awoke from the wolf dream in pain, but not in Chicago. Looking around quickly, he saw that he was no longer packaged away in a crate. Slowly, blurred memories came to him through the fog of his dreams. Vaguely he recalled strong hands pulling him forth from the body bag where he slept. He recalled a struggle, and he recalled the vinculum calling to him, to leave a message for his pack mates. That was when the silky touch of his sire’s hand upon his cheek occurred. then he slept again.

Through the pain, the veil of the dream induced fog, was burnt away from his mind, just like it would upon a hot summers morning after a rain. He looked about the dimly lit room as best he could from his position, seated, and facing a corner. Bound to a tall steel chair, by metal cables; at wrist, elbow, shin, thigh, and neck, his field of view was limited, much like his options. Using his considerable strength he attempted to push down with his toes, so that he could knock the chair over. He quickly realized that his feet were unable to touch the floor, and his inability to shift his weight enough to flip the chair suggested that it was securely bolted to the floor regardless. The more he moved, the worse the pain.

His struggles did bring one thing to his attention, the rocking had swung an intravenous bag into his view. It hung from a post on the back of his chair, leading to an IV line in his neck. The IV itself did not bother him, it was the metallic flakes in the solution that the bag contained that worried him. He knew, from experience, that silver caused him pain, and weakened him. Panic began to set in, as he knew that he had to remove the needle in his neck. In frustration, and with panic setting in, Michael yelled “I AM TIRED OF THIS BULLSHIT! REMOVE THE NEEDLE.”

The needle remained, but from behind him, a chorus of voices replied to demands. Each voice was an octave off from any of the others, but all carried the familiar voice of his sire. “Make yourself comfortable while I lift the veil, and tell you of your pedigree my …pet.”