"Come now my child, if we were planning to harm you, do you think we'd be lurking here beside the path in the very darkest part of the forest..." - Kenneth Patchen, "Even So."

THIS IS A BLOG ABOUT STORIES AND STORYTELLING; some are true, some are false, and some are a matter of perspective. Herein the brave traveller shall find dark musings on horror, explorations of the occult, and wild flights of fantasy.

Saturday, January 17, 2015



Draegonne looked past me, walking slowly towards his boy Friday.  He reached his hand up, fingers on the kid's cheek.  "It's me, Stefan.  You have nothing to fear."

The boy's eyes welled with tears, and he lowered the Molotov.    Draegonne opened his arms and the kid embraced him, weeping.  Closing his arms around the boy, Draegonne looked over at me.  "You came all this way to save me."

I narrowed my eyes.  The spectre I had seen hovering behind him was gone, but I still felt it, coiled invisibly around Damien.  "Too bad I was too late."

Draegonne closed his eyes and kissed the boy on his forehead before releasing him.  His eyes went to the cowering girl.  She was backed into the corner, eyes wide and empty.  Her mouth worked but no sounds came out, her entire body shivering.  Damien waved his hand at the Shades in the kitchen, and they faded like smoke.  He smiled at the girl.  "Lee Harper," he said, his voice low and soothing.  "Sleep and forget."

The girl's eyes rolled back into her skull, eyelids fluttering and closing.  She slid down the wall to the floor, suddenly in a deep slumber.  Terrific.  He's commanding ghosts now and his hypnosis is on fucking steroids.

"It's not what you think, Kit."  He still had his back to me, looking down on the girl.  

"It isn't?  I was there at the Night Palace.  You haven't been the same since."

He turned and put his arm around the boy, stroking his hair.  "I would think you of all people would understand what has happened to me, Bastet."

With that last word, he looked straight at me.  I felt my mouth go dry.  "How long have you known?"

"Since I first met you, and tasted your blood."  He replied.  "Though at the time I didn't have access to the knowledge I have now.  I knew you were not entirely human, but only now is your nature clear to me."

I bristled.  "Oh yeah?  And where does this 'knowledge' suddenly come..."  The words died on my lips.

I felt him, his mind sliding smoothly into my own, sifting through my memories.  It was like getting fucked, and not in a good way.  I opened my mouth to protest, but Draegonne found what he was looking for, activating the memory.  It exploded in my brain in full colour and stereo surround sound.  I saw the nursery, the half-Asian infant sleeping in his crib.  It was a hot summer night, and I could feel the heat on my skin...the baby's skin.  My mother had left the window open, to let in the night air.  That was all the invitation it needed.

The cat was little more than a black shadow on the windowsill, except for the glow in its green eyes.  It slid easily through the opening, landing softly on the floor.  It purred soothingly as it padded across the carpet.  With a single, graceful leap it landed inside the crib, inches from the baby.  Ears pressed back against its skull, tail lashing behind it, it placed its paws on the baby's chest, and brought its snout right to the infant's lips.  Its tongue darted out, licking the baby's face.  The child stirred and opened its mouth.

And the cat...it began to dissolve, fading into a swirling black smoke.  As I watched the vapour formed a funnel, and the child sucked it all into its lungs.  The small body shuddered, tiny limbs thrashing.  Then seconds later it fell still, calmly opening its eyes...

I shook my head to clear it, gritting my teeth.  I glared at Damien.  "You ever fuck around in my head again and I will end you, you son of a bitch."

He nodded.  "Fair enough, Kit.  Fair enough."  Damien let go of his Familiar and stepped towards me.  "But I am going to need you with me Kit.  You, with your fused souls, understand better than anyone in the world what has happened to me.  I need you to guide me through this."

I narrowed my eyes, trembling slightly, and mostly because I was pissed off.  The rest was fear.  "How much of you is him?"  When I asked the question, I wasn't sure if I was addressing the Harrow part or the Draegonne part.

"I don't know for certain, and that's partially why I need you. I need you to make sure Harrow doesn't overshadow Damien."

I looked over at Stefan.  No good deed goes unpunished.  I stuck my nose in to help out the kid, and now I was a hostage to whatever chess match the vampires were playing.  This is not the way I rolled.  But I thought of the Nikolea in Geneva, and the red-haired twink I got killed.  I was in this game for real.

"What's the plan?"

Draegonne smiled slightly, and I couldn't make out if he was relieved or just gloating that I was bending to his will.  "Thank you, Kit."  He paused a moment, glancing around the hall.  "We return to Europe now."

I nodded.  "The Night Palace, I suppose?"

He shook his head.  "No, bitch."

Three emotions went through my head at light-speed; surprised, offended, and fucking ticked off.  "Fine, bastard."

Damiend stared at me, and then suddenly let out a laugh.  "No, Kit, no."  He grinned at me.  "Bitche.  A small town in the Lorraine region of France.  Le Pays de Bitche in French or Bitscherland in German.  It's just across the border, less than one hundred kilometres from the Night Palace."

"Why?  What's there?"

"Home," he replied softly, and there was a wistful nostalgia in his voice that I was pretty sure came from Harrow.  "Château Harrotte.  The Night Palace was the home of the House Draegonne.  The chateau is where I...where Harrow resided the last three centuries he was in Europe.  It belonged originally to his Sire."

I scowled a bit at this new twist.  "Why there?"

"Pragmatism.  The Night Palace is still in Dragon territory.  But as per the terms of a truce between the Order of the Dragon and the French Carolingian bloodline, the Lorraine is a sort of demilitarised zone.  It's less likely they will launch an assault against me there, attacking not only a Raven but also breaking their Carolingian truce.  It will be safer until we consolidate our position."

So okay now...everything he says is 'we.'  Is he speaking for Harrow and himself, or like, 'we' as in 'you, Stefan, and me?'

Draegonne smiled slowly.  "Besides, Harrow has hidden something there.  Something we need to reclaim."

"And something tells me you aren't inclined to share what that is."

He put both his hands on my shoulders.  "Patience, Kit Kat.  Put your faith in me.  Trust me.  The game is about to change."

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