The Shenandoah Reports

Enter The Warden's Sanctum

... what are they getting themselves into now?

wardenssanctum.jpg

The timeframe that Soup gave in his communication with Nick didn’t give the three much time to discuss or prepare if they were to make the requested appointment.

But not much time, didn’t mean that they had to come unprepared…


David wasn’t prone to taking a lot of hardware on him when simply talking to leads. When daring to go to a sanctum, however, not coming prepared was foolish.

Rhimel came with him, and David expected, unlike the last time, that he would have to name it, and produce it. Draw the blade. Perhaps blood it. It was more than a symbol of his office, it was a piece of him, and his role, in a real and tangible way. He had spent a short while in solitary contemplation, kneeling at a (to his companions) seemingly random spot, in deep and unrousable prayer for a few minutes.

Monk stayed behind David as they made their way to this new rendezvous. Tired from a long shift and too much running around, she’d gotten more than slightly punchy and paranoid. She stewed silently, constantly tugging on her empty ring finger.

“Should we have brought wooden stakes?” She suddenly said out of the blue.

“Actually, yes,” Nick said, looking serious. “That sounds sensible. Why don’t you carve some up, and I will go to the church and abscond with some holy water. Do you suppose holy water loses effectiveness if it’s stolen?”

“My catholic school upbringing would say ‘yes’” David said, with no trace of mirth. “But I am not sure that short of corrupting it that holy water would really lose any potency just because you took it from a house of worship. It wouldn’t matter to the vampire.”


After their somewhat larcenous preparation, the trio drove towards the address they’d been given by Soup. The campus of UVA was pretty quiet around this part- even for the fact that the given address was near fraternity row. It also helped that it was near administration- almost directly between them.

As the car pulled to a stop, a man stood openly between them and their destination- Soup was not in sight. Slightly rakish, he affected that nouveau hipster appearance, in an obviously tailored suit, though just disheveled enough to appear cool rather than authoritarian, with round rimmed dark shades on- even though the light was very minimal. Every movement seemed controlled- almost too graceful. He nodded to them, motioning them over.

Before getting out of the car, Nick whispered to the others, “I may need someone with a weapon to back me up here, but let’s try talking first.”

He approached the stranger, hands in his pockets. “You’re obviously expecting us,” he said, with a cheerful smile. “Are you here to welcome us or to bar our way?”

“Hmmm…” the stranger said, with a slight smile at Nick’s forthrightness. “I’d say neither really fits.”

“My friends call me Danny,” he said, holding out his hand in greeting. And despite all indications otherwise, Nick felt himself pulled towards trusting him… even to taking his hand.

“As for my purpose here? Well, you three are such interesting people… and I really wanted to meet you.” There was a certain casual and unaffected sexuality to his voice… his eyes. So much so that even those that might not be inclined would feel the attraction.

Nick barked out a short, hearty laugh, but kept his hands in his pockets. “Well, it’s a pleasure to meet you, Danny. You seem quite interesting yourself, such an aura of interestingness. But let’s both keep our fascinating auras to ourselves, shall we? I won’t play with your mind if you stop trying to play with mine.”

He smiled, through shark’s teeth. “So, really, what do you want with us?”

Despite whatever intentions he might previously have had, Danny felt himself inclined to answer truthfully.

“But that’s so… boring,” Danny said, almost pouting.

“You ever hear that old adage, ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’?” He smiled, his too white teeth almost glowing in the encroaching dark. “Soup has much of the information that you need, but even that is only the tip of the iceberg. Seek my assistant, River, at the Rapture tomorrow- that is, if you survive tonight.”

“You’ve made some interesting enemies- that are about to make themselves known… but take heed- they aren’t police. Hell, they aren’t even human,” he said teasingly, as cheshire cat like, he faded from view, his smile staying a bit longer than the rest of him.

But that was the least of Nick’s worries, as he noticed black clad men heading towards them, the word POLICE helpfully emblazoned on their chests.

What he immediately noticed that made him wary of that declaration was that they immediately raised their weapons to shoot- apparently forgetting the word ‘freeze’!

Nick pulled his hands out of his pockets, and with them came thick swarms of angry, buzzing insects. The swarms swelled and joined into an immense cloud of vermin that flew toward the faux policemen, conveniently blocking Nick and the others from view as he sprinted in a zig-zag path back toward the car.

“That might distract them for a bit,” he said to David and Monk as he took cover,”but I can’t make the fake little buggers bite.” He tapped each of them quickly on the forehead, right between the eyes. “There. If I concentrate, I can keep the glamour up to distract them, but now you can see through it. Time to put those preparations we made earlier to good use.”

He handed a filled Supersoaker to Monk.

Monk was still recovering from the arrival of several armed men – not to mention the freakin’ vampire doing a disappearing act. In the grand scheme of ‘We’re-so-%#&^ing-dead,’ Nick shoving a squirt-gun into her hands almost made laugh.

Almost.

‘Cause if the glamour dropped, she’d be the only one carrying a gun-shaped thing. AKA the Big Freakin’ Bull’s-Eye. Then she’d be laughing through the holes in her chest.

She kicked David in the shin, “Go get the car started while I cover the Amazing Kreskin here.”

With Gobber ingenuity, Monk rummaged through her pockets and retrieved a latex glove. She stuck the end of the super-soaker into it and began filling the glove like a water balloon. When it was full, she tied the glove off and hurled it at the lead ‘cop’ like a grenade.

“Too dangerous” David said to Monk, shaking his head, and advancing toward the false policemen.The obvious leader of them was not the lead cop, no. It was him. He saw him, and steel was seen in David’s eyes.

“This is Rhimel.” he said, patting the hilt. “Rhimel denies you your claim and desire. And so I draw her, Rhimel.”

His hand was on the hilt, but seemingly of no earthly accord, the sword drew, being named thrice. He faced the vampire, the leader of these men over the hilt. His sword was hallowed, and he said a prayer over it before advancing with the blade toward the creature.

“Creature of Chaos and evil, you will not have what you wish. I abjure you. By Star Lake, by Queen Imladris, and by the strength of my arm, I do so.”

The thing about Vampires is that they don’t all subscribe to the Van Helsing book to destroy things that go bump in the dark. The Red Court Initiate, for instance, just got wet, and looked a little annoyed a the splatter.

The tactical squad supporting him, however was supported by more than technology. A halo of St. Elmo’s Fire spectacularly erupted around them as the balloon burst. Quite impressive, accompanied by unpleasant screaming as spirits separated from the agents, leaving clumps of ectoplasm on the ground as the holy water completed it’s work.

David’s naming and invocation had an obvious effect on the initiate as his veins stood out in relief against his too pale skin, his expression a rictus of pain and rage as he hissed and covered his face.

Which merely left human agents looking bewildered at their now revealed leader in revulsion, weapons in their hands.

Channeling her inner Buffy, Monk snagged one of the wooden stakes from her Van Helsing Collection. Taking advantage of the cops’ confusion and the vampire’s incapacitation, she sprinted forward, stake in hand.

She knew enough about anatomy to approach her target well – up and under the ribs and into the heart. Like a psychotic dwarf, she jumped upward, using her body weight to drive the wood shaft home. It was only then she realized just how stupid this course of action might be.

The combination of his fellows bearing down on him and the solid faith of the Faerie Knight disoriented the vampire long enough for Monk to close in on her foe. However, a combination of adrenaline and the vampire’s sudden movement combined to deflect her blow.

Or perhaps it was luck. For as he straightened up in alarm, she took him in the stomach, which on contact with the consecrated object burst open, blood spilling forth.

The blood was unlike any other drug she’d ever seen, experienced, or heard of, overstimulating her nerve system and sending bursts of purest bliss to her brain. Thankfully, the now dead vampire couldn’t take advantage of this as it normally would… but the overdose sent her to the ground in paroxyms of pleasure.

“Quick! Get her inside!” For all of his seeming hesitancy to get involved, Soup had ventured out of the sanctum, ready to intervene it seemed, wearing a load bearing harness with an array of vials and potions- and yes, a super-soaker. He was also loaded down with more conventional weapons. But instead of looking intimidating, he looked like someone very much out of his depth, and acutely aware of it.

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