March 23, 1424, 10:56pm
Not far from the Puente de Diablo
The Domain of Silvester de Ruiz
Lord of Shadows
Silvester absentmindedly ran his fingers over the scar on his right cheek as he read the report from he had received from his most trusted scout, Antonio Vallejo.
Vallejo’s report was devastating, confirming that, after so many centuries of trust and supposed mutual respect, his Favored childe, Ambrosio Luis Moncada, had betrayed him to the putrescent scabs that dared call themselves Cainites.
“Anarchs.” – Silvester used the term as if it were a curse.
The door to his library opened.
“Sire, Dona Teresa de Balgrad has arrived, just as you requested.”
“Thank you, Bolivar. I shall not need you again.” – Silvester
He listened as the least of his childer stepped in. She wasn’t alone.
“Who did you bring with you, my childe?” – Silvester, his voice light as he reread his report.
“Only my aides, Erzebet and Sherazhina.” – Teresa, meekly.“They must miss the musty hills of the Land Beyond horribly.” – Silvester.
Silvester smiled to himself, he still hadn’t turned to face her. He wanted to be sure that she understood her place, especially now that Ambrosio had forgotten his.
“They have made arrangement, sire. We come to you to beg your largesse.” – Teresa.
There it was.
Smiling the Lord of Shadows turned to face his childe.
His smile did not survive the turn.
“What is this?” – Silvester, furiously.
Teresa stood before him adorned in a suit of full plate, wearing a white tabard with her coat of arms emblazoned upon it.
To her left and her right were two enormous creatures, their flesh little more than a dark gray hide, their hands massive and malformed.
Teresa smiled at him.
“How did you get by my men in this state?” – Silvester demanded, not waiting for an answer to his first question.
“I have a friend who is very good at ensuring people see only what she wants them to see.” – Teresa.
Silvester flashed over to the cupboard in which he kept his sword, flinging its hatch open only to find the cabinet empty.
“Oh, I’m sorry, sire, but the Cardinal was kind enough to relieve you of your weaponry.” – Teresa, her voice the very epitome of noble neutrality.
Silvester felt an ice cold sliver of panic slice up his spine like a dagger.
With Lent nearly over Silvester was at his weakest, having not fed properly in nearly forty nights and have only sipped enough to curb his hunger once a week. Had anyone other than Teresa asked for this meeting he would have denied it.
His first instinct was to let his Darkness infuse his dead flesh, but with so little blood he didn’t dare.
But while he was contemplating his next action they were already on the approach. Slowly, he noted, even though he was weak they recognized his power. That was good, it meant that, even in battle, they might be too wary to use the full breadth of their own powers.
It was Teresa who came first, swinging her sword at him with far more force than her relatively small body would suggest she was capable of.
Silvester saw his opening, and flooding his limbs the power of shadows, he closed the gap between himself and his traitorous childe, sliding past her sword even as it fell, and appeared close enough to kiss her stunning face.
Instead he hit her with all the power he could muster.
Teresa flew backward, sliding across the polished marble floor.
His Darkness threatened to take him over as she slid toward the wall when he suddenly felt something inside him twist. He felt his chest burst open and saw a great spray of black Vitae. He looked down to find a nest of thorny tendrils had impaled him.
It took him awhile to realize that those strange spikes were his own ribcage.
He looked up to find that one of the creatures was standing behind him, it’s arm wrapped around his waist and one of his legs in an impossible bend as if it lacked any bone at all.
How had it moved so quickly?
Even as he pondered the question he felt Teresa’s blade tear through his left side.
Silvester whipped his head around to find his arm tumbling down his body. Drawing upon the darkness once again and concentrating he watched as a tendril of blackness whipped out from the gaping and bloodless wound that had once been his shoulder and caught his still falling limb.
Only a moment passed before his arm had completely righted itself, though he could still feel a great fissure deep beneath the surface.
If only he wasn’t so hungry.
He looked up to find a massive gray fist with too many fingers flying at his face.
The ancient Lasombra’s head rocked back and to the right. He felt the bones of his spine and face crack, pop and rattle as they shattered but the darkness flooded through his body and as he turned to look at his attacker he felt those same bones pop and crack back into place.
Silvester couldn’t help but sneer at the beast before he decided to simply give into his own Darkness.
The blackness that had long ago taken a place in his soul overcame him utterly and shut out the last vestiges of human conscience and temperance.
Silvester watched from within as the thing that rode his flesh took the long snake-like arm of the beast that bound him and, overpowering the thing, tried to bury its fangs into its thick flesh.
But the thing was too fast, in fact it was nearly as fast as him at his strongest and seemed to slither away from him, crouching finally some four yards away as its tentacle like appendage reshaped itself into an arm.
This couldn’t be happening.
Silvester felt Teresa’s sword as it thrust through his chest and wondered why she wouldn’t have simply cut off his head…
And then he felt his strength leave his limbs. He felt the world go cold, he saw everything dim.
It took everything he had to look down and see the large blackened wooden pike that was thrust through his chest.
She’d brought a stake. She hadn’t meant to kill him after all.
Silvester tried to turn to look at his least favorite childe and collapsed under his own weight instead.
As the world dimmed to black the last thing he saw was Teresa standing over him, her fangs flashing wickedly.
Erzebet watched as Teresa drank from her sire’s seemingly lifeless body as her own began to shrink, her bones popped and her muscles warped back on themselves painfully as he once again took a more human form.
The Lady, now once again beautiful and lithe, reached down and picked her dress from the floor, silently mocking the dead Lasombra.
Though she personally had no sympathy for the so called Anarch Movement she was glad that the elder would die taking the knowledge of their treacherous arrangement to hell with him.
As she slipped the simple slip of a dress up over her shoulder she looked back to where Teresa had been holding the elder to find him lying alone upon the marble floor.
She watched as his body, now little more than a pale husk, blinked from existence like a shadow in a well lit room.
“Where is Teresa?” – Ezebet asked her childe.
“Behind you, Lady Erzebet.” – Teresa’s voice seemed to purr.
Before Erzebet could respond she felt something tear through her chest.
She didn’t have to look down to know that it was the same stake that they had brought for Silvester.
“You shouldn’t have betrayed me to my sire, Erzebet.” – Teresa whispered into the fiend’s ear as her body collapsed.
She felt someone lift her off the ground.
“Thank you, my sire, for sacrificing your life for the Anarch Cause. It will not be in vain.” – Sherazhina whispered.
She felt the sting of her childe’s fangs sink into her throat.