“There is one sure thing about the fall of Gods:
they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter...”
-Steinbeck ‘East of Eden’
Blood, blood on the grass, blood on the trees, the leaves, the gate, everything... all there was left was blood. It washed the lawn in a burgundy hue only made worse by the strobing red light of the ambulances and swat cars parked near by.
“What kind of monster...” Sally choked on the very thought of just how the blood was spilled.
“A monster indeed.” Lee mused beside her, what could easily be mistaken as a slender grin across his lips as he bent down to pick up a small silver chain drowned in a pool of crimson. ‘Camarilla... Brujah.’ he inspected the charm, ‘anarchy in blood... fitting.’
“We should have a look at Ms. Peacecraft’s room, bag this.” Lee turned sharply to an investigator beside him, handing over the pendant before he started for the large house. Sally followed.
“There’s no evidence of a forced entry.” Sally commented trying to keep her eyes away from the trail of blood leading up the stairs.
“No, there isn’t...” Lee smiled, ‘they don’t enter uninvited.’
“How did they get in, and... the guards, there must have been a lot of them to take out all those guards, they were huge.”
“Size doesn’t matter- you know that Ms. Po, as well as I do.”
“Then they are good, very good at what they do. Not the random psychopaths the press is covering, but trained and paid assassins.”
“In a way.” Lee smiled knowingly, Sally couldn’t help but feel as if he knew more than he should, more than he was saying. She thought about addressing that matter but he stopped and there loomed before them the tall oak door to Relena’s bedchamber. It was open, less than an inch, but open none the less. Lee watched Sally hesitantly step forward before putting his hand to the door and with one soft nudge pushed it slowly open. The door creaked eerily, befitting of the nightmarish scene that lay behind it.
“Oh my God.” Sally covered her mouth and nose to the smell. It couldn’t be more than an hour old but already it wreaked of death and dried blood, the walls were painted with it and in the small, closed room it permeated the air.
Sally had seen death before, yes, she had even caused it many times in the war. She had seen the heinous crimes of the most depraved streets on earth and in space, she had cooly bagged and labeled thousands of articles drenched and covered in all manner of gore, she had photographed, analyzed, categorized and even archived dozens of hideous crimes, some even worse than this; in fact, many worse. There was no mound of rotting flesh here, no exposed brain matter, no tissue strewn about the room, no intestine used as garland for the balcony like in some crime scenes. All in all it was very clean, only blood, gallons of it. No normal person could ever supply that much blood, everything was covered in it, everything, from the deep Persian rug to the crystal chandelier. But it was that very same... eloquence that made it all too frightening. It was planned, meticulously planned, well thought out, premeditated to even supply a source of excess blood to paint the walls with! Sally just couldn’t take much more of this. She had half expected to find Relena’s dead body on the bed, the floor, locked in the closet or somewhere else, had dreaded that thought, the image of the young Queen dead. Not in her wildest dreams had she imagined this, though she should have, it was like this at every other scene so far, no body, little struggle, blood. It was the lack of the body that really got to Sally, not seeing Relena’s lifeless form, not having that release of saying goodbye and the dread of some fate worse than death for the young Queen, the total waste of such a good life.
“We’re too late.” Sally breathed, still not really believing it more than a dream.
“Don’t be so sure.” Lee grinned a wicked smile as he passed her and bent by the dresser, picked something up. He lifted the scissors to Sally, bright metal shining in the moonlight, they were clean, the only thing in the entire room not covered in a crimson wash. Sally took the scissors carefully using a handkerchief to hold them, trying to preserve what prints might be there.
“I wouldn’t bother with that, Ms. Po, they’ve been cleaned, there’s no evidence there but I would suspect some significance in our young queen’s struggle.”
“Struggle? But there’s no sign...” Sally stopped short seeing the deep gouges in the dresser, the small crack in the mirror. “Why would they take the time to clean it up, they never have before?” “Style? Whim?” Lee bent down slowly and picked something else up, “Respect.” he turned the thin ribbon in his hands.
“What is it?” Sally asked watching him eye the red brown chord.
“Hair.” Lee smiled and handed the long strand to her. “Ms. Po, there’s someone on the radio for you, says it’s urgent.” a young officer squeaked nervously from the door. Lee watched the way his eyes fixated on the doorframe, never wondering inside, the way his nose wrinkled up at the smell and he fidgeted nervously in the shadows. Sally turned indignantly to him.
“Can’t it wait?” she snapped.
“Uh... well, he said it was an emergency.”
“Who said?” Sally tried to compose herself.
“He... he didn’t say really, just said it was from Sandrock, or something like that.”
“Sandrock? Quatre! Give me the radio.” Sally gasped as her mind latched onto this new hope. “Quatre! Is it you, where are you?” she yelled into the receiver. “I’m here, Sally... I, I need your help.” the voice on the other end was scratchy but Sally could recognize Quatre’s worried tone.
“What? Where are you Quatre, are you Ok?” Sally tried not to let her mind go to far with the hope, Quatre’s voice wouldn’t allow her to make much of it, he was worried, and there was more than a little tinge of desperation in it.
“I found Heero, and Duo, they’re here.” the voice on the other end dropped to a whisper, anger laden tones and dread mixed with disbelief.
“What?” Sally wasn’t sure she had heard that right, it couldn’t be...
“They’re here, and they’re fighting.” Quatre seemed to be pleading more with himself than her to believe it.
“Heero and Duo are dead Quatre.” Sally reassured him, trying to build on that uncertainty but all she could hear was Wufei’s testimony hours before, ‘You can’t stop them! No one can... They’re not human... Maxwell... and Yuy.’ Sally shivered at the thought. She didn’t see Lee walk up behind her, didn’t hesitate to hand over the radio as Quatre tried to convince her.
“No they’re not, they’re here! I tell you they’re here!” Quatre almost squealed, Sally could hear the tears in his voice.
“Quatre, where are you?” Lee took the radio and asked calmly, but urgently.
“Huh? Who, who are you?” Quatre tried to hide the pain in his voice to this... stranger.
“It doesn’t matter, where are you?” Lee asked again. Quatre gave up trying to understand it all and answered.
“The tall hill outside of town a few miles from Relena’s,”
“The Necropolis...” Lee hissed as his eyes narrowed, “Stay where you are, we’ll be there in a few minutes.” he ordered and turned off the radio, not giving Quatre a chance to argue. Sally stared at him as he walked quickly, but quietly out of the room. “Lee, where are you going?” Sally stopped him at the door, he glared at her.
“I don’t have time for your paperwork Ms. Po.” Lee growled.
“Dammit, Lee, I don’t care what you do or don’t have time for, I’m still your superior officer now answer me!” Sally was tired of his bullshit as well as all the other cryptic crap she’d been fed over the past few weeks, she wanted answers, plain and simple.
“You assume too much, Ms. Po. Where I’m going there is no rank above survival.” Lee growled pushing her off. She didn’t get what she wanted
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Sally barked.
“Do you really want to know?” Lee smiled lowering his eyes to look at her under his brows, the red light played eerie shadows in his eyes, mixed with the blue to create a ghostly purple, the smile brought back a phantom she’d claimed dead but wasn’t so sure of now.
“Then come with me, and I can show you.” Lee smiled and turned away.
“Come where?” Sally asked as she followed him down the hall. He stopped, seemed to consider something then turned that smile on her again.
“Take five of your best men, your best pilots and their best suits, then meet me at the harbor in fifteen minutes... that would be, Midnight.” Lee smiled at the irony before disappearing into the night.
The smoke cleared. Relena laid huddled on the ground, the long rope still tied at her neck coiled around her feet as she lifted her head to inspect the carnage. But there was none. Not even a single drop of blood. Not even one of the bullets had hit Relena, a feat none had expected to accomplish, they had hardly thought she would survive. No blood, no body, no Death. The boy was gone as if he had disappeared, there wasn’t a trace of him anywhere.
The prince sent his head ghoul to tend to the Queen. Drae stepped smiling down to her. Relena blinked in surprise and confusion, it was the first real look she had taken at the room since she got there. Drae knelt down and helped her up. He untied the ropes and took off the gag, throwing the braided hair to the ground. She blinked at him then at the Prince, recognition began to dawn on her and she backed away.
“Prince?... and... and you, you were watching Quatre, in the day... and” Relena jumped as hollow laughter split the air again. Drae watched her cower as the assembly looked blindly for the source. Drae looked up, Death was laughing in the rafters and as he danced hidden on the beams a second threat made it’s entrance upon the meeting. Called in by the gunfire a large Virgo suit crashed through the tall doors and opened fire. Drae threw Relena to the ground as the laughter pitched and wailed through the hall and the Kindred began to panic.
“Get the Queen out of here, now.” Drae shouted to one of the Camarilla guards rushing by. The tall vampire glared at him but complied to the old ghoul’s orders knowing it would do no good to be offended in a time like this- or to question one of the Prince’s highest servants, be he ghoul or kindred. The guard took Relena as Drae turned to protect the Prince. He looked back just in time to see the scarlet banners behind the dias fall. The bright red silk covered the thrones and the guards beside them, hiding both Camarilla Prince and Sabbat Chief. The old ghoul was stopped by a crystal eye, long blonde hair.
“The curtain, a funeral pall, comes down with the rush of a storm...” he sighed slowly shaking his head.
“And I shall be the Conqueror Worm.” the young blonde smiled wickedly her eyes shining beneath forked brows. A tall boy beside them sighed, hiding tears under a shock of long auburn hair he turned his eyes back to the fight. There was a loud blast behind him as the Virgo shot into the crowd. The laughter rose again and time seemed to slow as in a wicked dream. The suit’s pilot jumped down from his weapon into a nightmarish fog below. The crowd spread from him in a river of blood, he was ruthless and the kindred’s heart stained his dark hair red as his cobalt eyes burned in unholy fire. The Sabbat Chief was the first to escape Death’s curtain, right to the arms of this demon. The old vampire put up a fight, for minutes or mere seconds time drug on like hours and the boy could not tell, but one thing was certain; when it was all over the Sabbat’s head was held high in the devil’s hand.
Time stood still as the kindred gasped, the Sabbat king fell, Death stepped forth, the Prince’s heart in his hands. The two boys met each other at the foot of the dias, covered in the blood of their prey. Death smiled and his demon purred. They seemed trapped in each others eyes for moments longer than they were. Then the nightmare fog shattered as a harsh sound rang out over the red stained marble floor- applause.
“Excellent... absolutely marvelous! Why it’s perfect.” all eyes turned to the shadows by the dias, the source of the sound. A young blonde stepped forth from beside the boy and Drae, stepped boldly before the two blood soaked kindred, they growled. “I couldn’t have imagined a better end.” she smiled to them and bowed. Death returned the smile, his demon glared. “But then, this is far from the end, now isn’t it, Duo Maxwell?” Death’s violet eyes flashed at the girl, the demon growled and inched closer. She stood her ground.
“You are brave to face us.” Death smiled.
“And foolish.” the demon hissed beside him. “Who are you?”
The girl smiled wide taking a formal curtsey and addressing them like royalty, “I am Dorothy Catalonia, your humble and obedient servant, my Lords.”