Gravel crunched under the wheels of my bike as I pulled up in front of Thompson's house. it was a newly renovated building with a lot of art carved into the walls. Thompson loved lavish things and viewed Dionysus as a role model. I had seen the building once before but had never been inside. Large marble columns framed the oak doorway which had recently been decimated. I hopped off the bike and swore. I moved up to the door and peered inside, my hand reaching for my kukri knife.

I looked around the doorway to find several guards within, their blood pooling around their bodies. I cautiously moved around the corpses and took a step into the building. I crouched down next to the bodies and examined their wounds. The two nearest the door had simply been run through and then had their throats slit open by and incredibly sharp blade. A third rested in the remains of one half of the door, his body crumpled against the wood. I shook my head and sheathed my kukri before standing.

"Sonofabitch. How the fuck did they beat me?"

My voice was met with an eerie silence. I strode forward, doing everything I could to sense any movement within the massive building.

As I rounded a corner I found several more corpses, all of them had either been tossed into the walls or felled with incredibly precise cuts. Doors had been ripped clean off the walls and then been forced into the bodies of the vampyres that clearly had been caught off guard by the two humans' assault. Hell, I was surprised by the ruthless efficiency that was apparent in the slaughter around me. Blood ran thick on the ground and none of Thompson's guards had been spared.

Regardless of the signs of battle around me, the house was absolutely stunning. Fine portraits decorated the walls, but now held the pale blood of vampyres. Lavish bed spreads could be seen through open doorways, and marble busts adorned nooks in every corridor; although some had been smashed over the heads of the vampyres in the halls. It was easy to tell that Thompson viewed his riches far more than those he employed as their weapons were fairly simple firearms. As I moved deeper into the labyrinth of the house I noticed a relatively short amount of security systems, which explained how Iscariot and Demaen could get in so easily. I shrugged and merely followed the carnage, figuring that if they had made it this far into the house without getting killed, they knew what they were doing.

What I failed to notice was how many had been killed by gunfire.

I entered a long hallway and finally caught the signs of recent battle: smoke still clung to the air from gunfire and I could hear fighting up ahead. I quickened my pace and reached the room where the fight was taking place and stuck my head in. Iscariot fought off to one side, swinging with his massive arm with deadly precision. He had a playful smile on his face as his metal fist collided with the vampyres' skulls, crushing them like paper. He moved with an odd amount of grace, easily dodging out of the way of his foes' weapons. After each kill he'd yell out a number with exceptional glee-as if the entire fight was nothing more than a game to him.

Demaen stood amidst corpses, fighting Thompson himself. His foot lashed out, struck the vampyre on the side of his head, snapped around and struck around on the other side. Thompson staggered backwards, dazed. With a mere moment's pause, Demaen lurched forward, hooked his knee around Thompson's neck and dropped to one knee, pinning the vampyre. In the same movement, Demaen brought one of his swords around and pressed the blade to Thompson's throat and turned his attention to me.

"Nice of you to finally show."

He looked down at Thompson.

"The random pot shots when we weren't looking was a nice shot, but would it have really hurt to actually get your hands dirty?"

I watched as Iscariot grasped the head of the final guard in his massive hand and laughed with glee as it cracked under the mechanical limb's force.

"57! I got 57 Demaen!"

I shook my head and strode into the room, my eyes fixed on Thompson.

"Demaen, I just got here. I didn't shoot anybody."

A cold gun barrel pressed against the back of my head and I stopped, pissed.

"No, but we did."

Their scent came to me as a subtle fragrance, covered by the death around us and some special perfume they must have used to mask their presence. They were court members, that was certain. The question though was which court did they belong to and why the hell were they there? Demaen pressed his blade tighter to Thompson's throat.

"Release him or I'll give him a second place to smile from."

Iscariot looked around, frantic as more strode into the room, guns drawn. I focused dead ahead but did my best to keep my tone sounding bored.

"The fuck do you want with us?"

"Technically, the exact same thing you want: knowledge. Except we want this knowledge kept where it should be: in that man's head. Thus, Mr. Moore, please kill Mr. Rickers, as I do not intend to let Mr. Markus here go."

Demaen hardly flinched, merely pressed the blade harder against Thompson's throat-causing the vampyre to begin whimpering.

"I see. Well, I had hoped we wouldn't need to resort to this but. If you do not finish him off by the time I count to three, Mr. Markus' blood will be on your hands."

The voice paused.

"Right. One. Two."

They paused for a moment to add dramatic effect and I nodded at Demaen.


Pain exploded into my brain as the bullet hammered through the back of my head. I dropped to the ground, my body immediately panicking over the sheer damage that had been done. I hit the concrete and ceased moving, trying everything I could do to mend the gaping hole in the back of my head as quickly as possible. I did my best to turn my gaze towards Demaen and found that he had barely flinched. His blade still rested against Thompson's throat and his gaze was unwavering. The vampyre that had shot me paused and sighed.

"Do we really have to do this Mr. Moore? Either you kill Mr. Rickers or we kill Mr. Markus, therefore ending the need for Mr. Rickers to die."

He stopped for dramatic effect, giving my body a bit longer to work on shoving the metal slug out.

"Now then. Let's try this again. You have until the count of three to open that man's throat and remove his head. One."

I swore to myself, knowing that I wouldn't have near enough time to heal the first bullet hole before the second hammered in.


I could feel the bullet inching its way out the hole in the back of my head, leaving a steadily healing hole in my brain as it went.


As the second bullet slammed into the back of my skull I tried to scream. My body seized and my senses failed. Everything I knew ceased as my brain screamed in torture against the slug. I could sense that people were talking and they were moving around the room. I was vaguely aware of the growing pool of blood around me and how much my brain hurt. What I was acutely aware of though was the severed head rolling across the floor away from where I remembered Demaen to be. I struggled to move, but my body refused to respond. Instead it focused solely on mending the severe damage done.

I was pissed that Thompson, and my last lead, was lying dead but it was a necessary evil. Had Demaen not killed him and instead let the vampyres shoot me again, I would've been the one twitching as his body gave away the last few breaths of life. Hell, there was a damn good chance that I was breathing my last breaths.

Was I breathing? Or was I imagining it?

All I knew for sure was that my head hurt like hell and that suddenly someone was holding me and screaming.

I knew that and the fact that giving in to the darkness around me was the best damn idea I had ever had.