The night wore on and Chris spent time in a troubled sleep. She was still settling from both the shock of losing her grandmother, and the descision that she had made to stay with the Undertaker and his Ministry of Darkness. But she knew it was more than it seemed. She knew Taker was gathering an army, and that army would be deplored into battle. What battle, she had not been sure of for sometime. But she was certain it was to to battle Vincent Mcmanhoh and his corrupt corporation.
So much was on her mind. It was very late, and she tossed and turned. Tears began to well up in her eyes. Then, she felt a presence. The same she had felt before but it was not in her room...*he* was in her dreams. She felt a familiarity to this dream, one of many she'd had when she had first met Taker. She felt herself aloft a running stallion, a black horse she had named NightStar...her dream carrier. She rode him like lightening to the place she'd known so well, the grave yard. And there, standing in the light of a moonbeam, the way she had remembered him, was the Undertaker, before the ministry of darkness was born.
"I know this place. I remember it so well. I used to visit you here so often." Chris said. "I know. You came here on your horse." Taker replied. "But how can it be you look like you did then?"
"This is merely a form Chris. It is what I thought would comfort you the most right now. You're in a great deal of pain. I could not reach out to you physically, so this was the next best thing."
"I knew she was going to die sooner or later. It just, it hurts, no matter how much I tried to prepare myself, it hurts. All I can see when I close my eyes is her lying in that box. I try to get it out of my mind, but nothing seems to work."
"You'll be in your new home again soon Chris. Time will heal what you have lost. It's never easy to get over something like this, but you have endured this before, and have come out of it stronger."
"Are you sure you are ready to come back after this? I know that you're leaving home has to unnerve you. I don't want you rushing back because of me."
"Taker, I have lived a sheltered, protected life. I'm only 25, but that is half my life gone by, and I really have nothing to show for it." Chris said with a sigh of discontent.
"I think you have a great deal to be proud of. You are one of the few in this world who has not given into its temptations. I've watched so many like you grow up, knowing men before they've grown, mothers at 13, running away from home, selling their bodies, ...and their souls. Poisoned by drugs, plagued by viruses they could have avoided. You have resisted what so many others have not. You've kept yourself away from what has killed so many your age."
"I've seen the mistakes friends of mine and family have made. I know how painful it was being a child growing up in her most important years without her father. I don't want the children I would have to go through the same pain as I did. I want to marry for love, and make sure that it is love I married for. I want to make sure the person I marry loves me."
"Dawn is coming. You must return to the waking world."
"I will return soon. I promise."
Chris woke up that morning, knowing where she'd been, knowing she had been with him. She got up and looked at her doll collection. She thought she would take them with her, but now, she thought they would be better off at home. She loved them, and knew they would have a good home with her mother. They had once been a comfort to Chris, now they would be a comfort to her mother.
Chris needed to start a new life now. She would live with the Undertaker and his ministry of darkness. Her family was dear to her, but another family had welcomed her now. She stood at her window, looking out at the yard she would soon leave. She walked out of her room and saw her sister and mother still sleeping. Would her sister understand her leaving? Would her mother be able to deal with it? She looked down at the little black cat who now rubbed against her leg. She picked up Sheba and nuzzled her head and set her down. Chris scratched her pet cat's chin and then walked off into the living room. She looked at it, the kitchen, the furniture. She was almost committing it to memory...it would be a long time before she saw it again.
She sat on the couch, deep in thought. She knew this was her home, it had been for many years. But she knew a new home waited for her, and she wanted to be there now. Her life needed to begin anew. Today she would spend with her family, her mother and sister. Then she would return to the home that now waited for her. Her eyes closed for a moment. She spent the last bit of silence in reflection.
"I need to be with him now. I can't stay here for the rest of my life. He needs me. I need him. We need each other. Mom, please understand. I'm not saying goodbye forever. We will still be a family, but Taker needs me now. I need him. Our lives are intertwined now."
"Honey, are you all right?"
Chris looked up to see her mother looking at her. "I was thinking outloud I guess." She answered.
"Hon, do you love him? And does he love you?"
"Yes on both counts. He wants me to stay with him, but said he would do nothing to take me from my family. He needs me mama. I need him. I know that my leaving is going to be hard. But mama, I'm 25 years old now. I need to start my life a new...and that life is with the Undertaker now. He would do nothing to hurt me." Chris said.
"I know. It's just not easy knowing my little girl has grown up and found someone to love and be loved by." Tears began to form in her mother's eyes. "Mom, this is not goodbye. This is just me going to someone who needs me now. Me going to someone I love and need. We are happy together. He sees that I am well taken care of."
"I know. You deserve a man who loves you."
It turns out he's watched over me for a long time. The feelings, my connection to him, they weren't just emotion. They were real. He's watched over me and wanted me all this time. And one night, he came to me. He took me to his home, by some spiritual method."
"No one hurt you did they?"
"No. Taker won't allow it. Yes, it is true he's a dark man, and many may see him as evil. But he's not like that. A man cannot care the way he does about someone and be evil. You can't belive all that you see on television. He's a protector and has sworn that no harm would come to me if he could help it."
"I guess I'm just not ready for you to leave honey. But, then again, you'll always be my little baby girl. I'll never be ready for you to go out on your own. But I accept it. You should be happy, and if he loves you and you love him, then go and be with him my daughter."
"Thank you mama." Chris said hugging her mother.
The day passed. Chris spent all the time she could with her mother and sister as she might not see them again for awhile. She shopped and watched movies with her mother. They did the things they were used to, and soon night fell. Chris went to bed, tears in her eyes. She was both happy and sad. Her mother had blessed the love that she held for the Undertaker, and his for her. But she would miss the life she was so used to. She was scared for the little sister who might never understand why Chris was leaving. She was simply afraid of the huge step she was going to take, but knew she would not take that step alone.
Her mother lay in her bed. She tossed and turned and then she became still, almost in a trance. She could not see, but a huge figure stood in the doorway to her bedroom. In spirit form, the Undertaker had come to see Chris.
"I shall let no harm come to her. She is as dear to me as life itself. I will let no one hurt her, your first born daughter. I will lay down my own life before I let anyone take hers. And I will not take her from you. I will do all I can to see that she's happy. I vow it."
With those words, the spirit of the Undertaker vanished into the night. Chris awoke, knowing he had been there. She walked into the livingroom. She looked at the house she knew so well, and come the next day, she would bid it good bye.
Chris got up early the next morning and hugged her mother. She looked at Sue who was still sleeping. What would her big sister tell her. Chris didn't know what to say, and figured it was better to say nothing at all. She simply gave her little sister a kiss on her forehead. Then hearing a car pull up, Chris knew it was time for her to go back to what was her new home. "You tell him to take good care of you honey." Her mother said with tears in her eyes. "He will mama. Taker would never let harm come to me." Chris said and carried what little bit she was taking with her to the car. She was leaving most of her personal items behind. Chris looked back at her mother once more, and waved goodbye. She was happy to be going to see her love again, but she was sad over leaving the life she had known so long. The car started, and then pulled out of the drive way. Chris watched the house she had known for so many years as it disapeared into the distance.
Chris leaned her head against the window and fell asleep. It was a sleep needfully induced. The descision she had made was bringing great stress upon her. Not wanting her to hurt with the thought of leaving her house, Taker put her to sleep. "I know the choice you've made has caused you pain. I swear I will do all I can to drive that agony away from you." Whispered the voice of the Dark Lord as he waited for Chris to return. He turned around to find Viscera standing there, glaring at him. On the outside he may do what he's told, but there, he would let Taker know just how much he depsised the role he had been forced into. "You can stop looking at me like that. It won't get you out of this." Taker growled.
"And how am I looking at you, my lord." Viscera asked sarcastically. Taker glared at him. "Do not play games with me. Men have done so and not lived, or gone insane. I don't think you want to challenge my power. You know what happened the last time you angered me."
"You must have not slept well. I am but a humble servant of your ministry lord. You made that so."
"Do not mock me." Taker growled and walked off. He stopped for a moment. "Make sure this place is presentable by the time Chris gets here. I'll not have her walk into this place while it's a mess."
Viscera glared at his master as he walked off. Vis decided that he would have someone else do his work. "Hey, you, Midian. Taker want's this place cleaned up. Clean the place up."
"Just a minute Viscera. I'm not your slave. We all share the responcibility here."
"You getting an attitude with me. I don't think you want to go there pal. You wouldn't want me to have to go interrupt our master during his meditations just to tell him you weren't following orders now would ya?"
Midian swallowed hard knowing what happened to those who incurred the Taker's rage. He said nothing and went into Chris' room and started to clean it up. "While ya at it, tell those three choir boys the brood they need to pitch in as well."
Midian didn't like Viscera's attitude, and couldn't understand why Taker made him a part of the ministry. But it was better to accept Taker's will rather than suffer the consequences of questioning it. He went to get Gangrel and Edge and Christain to help him straighten the lair up. Meanwhile, Viscera decided to sit back and watch. He got himself a huge plate of food and proceeded to stuff himself.
Several hours later the brood and Midian huffed and puffed finally finishing the cleaning. Viscera who had fallen asleep, suddenly woke up to find four angry men staring at him. "You know Viscera, it would be a lovely gesture on your part if you could actually get up off your fat, lazy ass and help us out!" Gangrel barked. Viscera just sat there and laughed heartily. "Hey, keep ya fangs in Dracula. You got the work done didn't ya."
"We are not your personal servants Viscera. We serve only the Lord of Darkness." Midian said cryptically. "Oh like you honestly belive all this nonsense. You honestly think that there's some greater force out there ruling the Undertaker while he rules us. Please, the only force out there ruling him is his ego. Now go get cleaned up fore his woman gets here."
"I would not let him hear you talk with such disrespect for those who stay here. We all play our part in the ministry. I suggest you learn yours."
"And I suggest you shut your mouth fore our master hears you three complaining. After all I'm the muscle of this operation. You four ain't nothing compared to me!" Viscera shouted and lumbered off. Gangrel looked at him waddle off as he hissed and bore his fangs. "I swear I would suck him dry if I didn't think his blood were poison."
Edge and Christian calmed their vampire leader and waited for the Undertaker to make his presence known. He walked into the room, and then saw the brood and Midian panting and huffing. "What is going on here?" He asked sternly. "Where is Viscera? I told him he had work to do."
No one knew what to do. They knew if they lied they would suffer Taker's wrath, and if they told then Viscera would surely beat up every one of them. But in the end, they feared Taker more than they feared Viscera. "He, he gave us the work." Midian said as truthfully as he could.
"I see. And where did he go while you were doing his job?"
"The big goon sat and stuffed himself while we have slaved to keep our hides intact!" Gangrel hissed.
"I will deal with him. In the mean time, I suggest you get yourselves cleaned up before Chris arrives. And this time, you leave him to his work. I am to be told if he does this again." Taker growled as he looked sternly at his followers. "Forgive us lord. We were only trying to keep from incuring your anger." Midian said humbly as he bowed. "I will deal with Viscera. I can see he is going to have to be taught a lesson. Acolytes!" Taker called. Farooq and Bradshaw appeared as they were called by their lord. "Yes lord."
"Come with me. I must have a 'talk' with Viscera. He must learn to be more obidient than he has been." Taker said cryptically.
"You heard what Taker said. We need to make ourselves more presentable for the young lady who is returning to our fold." Midian said.
An hour later the car pulled up. It came to a complete stop and Chris emerged from the car. She entered the house and walked into the living hall where the members of the Ministry and their leader had gathered to greet her. They stood in a group, Midian, The Brood, The Acolytes, Viscera who now seemed a bit bruised and battered, Paul Bearer and last but not least, The Undertaker. He walked toward her as she went to him. "Welcome home Chris." He said gently as he kneeled before her to hug her. She looked at the members who all humbly bowed before her. The acolytes gave Viscera a stern glare to bow his head to show respect. "I know when you were here briefly you did not have a chance to meet the others."
"I know them, you're Midian, you're the three known as the Brood and you're the Acolytes and you're Viscera." Chris said.
"Ah, then you've heard about us." Gangrel said.
"I've been keeping up with the Ministry ever since it first came to be. I've known of the Undertaker for years. I guess you have heard from me what happened when I went home." Chris said her expression becoming sad.
"Yes, and I'm sorry to hear you lost someone you loved. I know it has been hard on you going through this and then coming back here. I...I'm glad you came back. I know you must be tired. Your room is ready if you want to go to bed."
"Yes, I am. I really do need to get some sleep. I've been traveling all day." Chris said. "I'll see you to your room Chris. We had a bit of a dispute upon who was supposed to have it ready for you." Taker growled glaring at Viscera. "But it is a dispute that will not take place again.....will it?"
"No my lord." Viscera growled back.
"Chris, I must leave you for now. I have some matters that must be attended to. I will see you in the morning. Midian will see you to your room."
"What happened to Viscera? And why does he act with such disrespect?" Chris asked.
"He severly displeased our lord. He was to prepare your room and forced the Brood and I to do it instead."
"Taker is very much strict on discipline. He does not want us losing focus off of our purpose here in the ministry. If it will not offend you, may I say I think our lord is quite fond of you. He speaks of you constantly. He thinks dearly of you." Midian said.
"It doesn't bother me Mid. I know he thinks of me, as I think of him. He is very dear to me. I'll be all right now. Goodnight."
Midian bowed humbly and left Chris to her room.
**to be cont**