NIGHTFALL: The Final Season

"Complicities"

"You have done well, Kyle," complimented Bartholomew, taking the container handed to him by his newly arrived Master. "I did not expect you to arrive from the United States so soon."

"I exist to serve, My Lord," stated Kyle, bowing before Bartholomew.

"Even with your life?"

"Without hesitation, My Lord."

"Good," said Bartholomew, absently, momentarily focused on summoning one of his Warriors.

"I ask that you allow me to join the other Masters in your defense, My Lord."

"Soon, Kyle. Soon. I have a more important undertaking for you. The humans have divided into three groups in hopes of thinning our forces. The two Halflings are using their abilities to mask the whereabouts of those they are with, but the Lycanthropes have no such protection."

"Lycanthropes?"

"Werewolves, Kyle," explained Bartholomew, opening the container and examining the ashes within it. "Werewolves."

With the arrival of the summoned Warrior, Bartholomew became oblivious of Kyle, concentrating on the task before him. The Vampire Lord poured the ashes into a pile on the floor, and then directed the Warrior to step into them, a purplish glow already beginning to emanate from its form as Bartholomew worked his energies.

Kyle watched in astonishment as the form of the Warrior rippled and shimmered, its dead flesh reforming before his very eyes to take on the appearance of a nude female.

The woman looked about blankly, the emptiness of her eyes still showing a hint of the intelligence that yet lay buried within her regenerated mind.

"You know who I am?" asked Bartholomew.

"You are my Lord," she replied, her tone plain and unwavering.

"You know who you are?"

The woman remained silent.

"In a short time, you will remember," said Bartholomew. "The trauma of rebirth is sometimes taxing. Considering that I have also given you the power of a Master, it's quite amazing that you can talk so soon."

"You are truly Our Lord," proclaimed Kyle, dropping to one knee and bowing his head to Bartholomew. "You have the power to raise us from the final death!"

"Rise, My Child," directed Bartholomew, motioning towards a rack of melee weapons in the corner of the room. "I have a task for you to undertake."

"What is you wish, My Lord?" asked Kyle, examining the grouping of swords.

"I have summoned six Warriors, and four other Masters. Lead them to the Lycanthropes. You may kill all of them except for this man."

Bartholomew placed an image in the mind of Kyle, who nodded in acknowledgement of his orders.

"Bring him here."

Kyle nodded once more and then grabbed up five of the bladed weapons. Stepping out into the hallway, Kyle distributed the swords amongst the other Masters, the creatures examining the instruments of death with curiosity.

"Silver," explained Kyle, smiling wickedly.

"I get the impression that you don't like my plan very well," whispered Bill to Diane.

"It's not your plan that I don't care for. It's the fact that you sent John with the other group."

"At least Christine's with him. She'll be masking their group just like I'm doing for us. Don't worry, they'll be okay."

"I can't argue that. Hell, we've already let two search parties of vampires waltz right past us," she agreed, thinking of how they had hugged the wall while Bill hid their presence from the passing creatures.

"Well, it's not all that innocent either. I wanted John with the others so I could talk to you."

"I should have known," snapped Diane, louder than their previous conversation. "You've got a major problem with rejection, you know that? I thought you and Christine were getting along rather well. What the hell happened with that?"

"And your problem is your high opinion of yourself," snapped Bill, closing his eyes as he tried to force himself to calm down. Diane might not remember their reconcilement, but he did, and he wanted to make this one smoother than the last. "Look, that didn't come out like I wanted it to."

"And just how is that statement suppose to come out sounding nice?"

"In case you haven't noticed, this isn't really the place to be starting this," said Roy, stepping between the two.

"He started it," accused Diane.

"I just need a couple of minutes to talk to you, to explain things," stated Bill, his eyes never wavering from hers. "Please, Di. Just give me that."

"Bill, can't this wait?" asked Roy. "We should be focusing on the task at hand."

"I don't want to leave this unfinished. I want her to know the score. In case something happens to one of us."

"What about your plan?" smarted Diane.

"You two are like a couple of unruly children. You just keep egging each other on," counseled Roy. "Why can't you put the past behind you?"

"Just give me five minutes," pleaded Bill, his eyes still on Diane. "Please, Diane. Just hear me out."

Roy muttered something under his breath, something unbecoming of his stature, and then he directed the others with them to take up watch points.

"I can't believe you're making them do this," admonished Diane. "We're in the middle of Bartholomew's nest, and you're…"

"And we've been here once already. Roy's doing this for me, will you just shut up for a minute and let me talk."

Diane fixed him with an icy glare, but she held her tongue.

"You don't have to feel bad about not feeling the same way about me that I do about you," he started, holding up a hand to stave off her protests. "I know that it makes you feel guilty, then you get mad at me for making you feel that way. Well, don't. Okay?"

It was obvious that it was all Diane could do to keep herself from saying something. Her mouth scrunched tightly shut, she stood silently, nearly vibrating with her pent up emotions.

"I just want to be your friend, Di. Don't shut me out completely; let me be your friend. Like we used to be. You can't tell me that you've forgotten how we used to get along?"

Forgotten.

Forgot.

Forget.

"Don't forget!"

Diane looked at Bill as if seeing him for the very first time. A memory, vivid and fleeting, flashed through her mind. A memory of an event that had happened in a time that had not been.

A memory of would have been.

"Di?" asked Bill, concerned.

"I remember," she whispered, so softly that even his heightened senses nearly missed it. "I remember our…talk."

Bill smiled slightly at her.

"I'm sorry," said Diane, her voice trembling as she felt overcome with shame.

"It's okay," offered Bill, taking her into his arms and holding her as she choked back a sob. "We're friends."

"Friends," she echoed, sniffling.

"Besides, we've been through this. We should be over the crying part."

"What about the feeling like an ass part?" she asked, her sob coming out as a strained laugh.

"You can feel like an ass for a little while longer," said Bill, smiling. "I know that I still do."

Diane just shook her head, wiping a hand across her moist eyes.

"You ready to take on a Vampire Lord?"

"Oh, yeah," she answered. "Any thing to break this awkward moment."

"Roy," called Bill.

"Every thing okay, now?" asked Roy, joining the two.

"Yeah. Good as new," said Diane.

"Come on, Preach. We need to get you to the library," said Bill, moving to once more lead the way.

Timms and Maxwell howled with rage as two Masters bearing swords cut down Vivian, the silver blades slicing through her effortlessly and spilling her open. The Lupa spun to the ground, as dead as the many others that the Masters had already hacked apart, her empty eyes seeming to glare accusingly at the two remaining members of her pack.

Maxwell launched himself at the group of Masters, but a swipe from one of the Warriors sent him slamming into a wall, his bones audibly cracking from the force of the impact.

Timms could not help but think that Bill had set them up, that the Halfling had sent them into a trap. That thought served to fuel his anger as he leapt around the Warrior, his animalistic desire wanting nothing more than the black blood of those that had slaughtered his brothers and sisters.

Attacking with a ferocity that he had not known he possessed, Timms lashed out with his mighty claws, severing the heads of the two closest Masters. Roaring with delight as the two creatures blew apart in a flash of flame and dust, Timms spun around to bare down on two more of the Masters, his senses barely registering that another one had slipped behind him.

Timms had started to turn to face the foe behind him when his head suddenly exploded with pain, stars dancing before his eyes as darkness seemed to swell about him.

Kyle smiled as the Lycanthrope went down, the impact from the broad side of his sword having been more than enough to kill a non-enchanted being.

"Take him," order Kyle of the two Warriors. "Our Lord is waiting for him."

If not for the circumstances, Bartholomew would have been proud of the powers that the two Halfling were displaying, easily evading his many forces scouring his lair in search of them. As the circumstances were, with them no longer under his influence in any way, he was growing angry.

His years of planning, the many safeguards he had planted within the genetic make-up of his off spring, all of it was for not. He could not allow the two Halflings to live; it would not bode well if they were to pass on their knowledge to the other Halflings still out in the world-those aware of what they were, and those that weren't.

Of the many plans he had conceived of to bring about dissension among those that sought his demise, Bartholomew had not actually intended to use this one, but Kyle's arrival and the changing of the Halflings had compelled him to carry it out.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained, he thought, with a cold smile.

Sensing the arrival of the others, Bartholomew took a strategic stance as Kyle led the others into the room, the two Warriors dragging the unconscious Timms to Bartholomew's feet.

Timms groaned as the Warriors dropped him, the Masters having continually beaten him as he had been hauled to see their Lord. Barely able to rise to his knees, Timms glared at Bartholomew through swollen eyes, even his healing abilities unable to quickly repair the damage done to him.

"Hello, Zachary," greeted Bartholomew, the energy of his voice seeming like a soothing suave to Timms' broken body.

Timms was unable to reply yet, his throat still healing from several kicks delivered by Kyle.

"I want to be your friend, Zachary," said Bartholomew, crouching down to look Timms in the eye. "I want to help end your suffering. Not just your physical pain, but also the never ending pain that gnaws at your soul."

Timms tried to say something, the words coming out as bubbling gargles, blood spilling down his lips.

"That's not a very nice thing to say to someone that only wishes to be your friend, Zachary," said Bartholomew, apparently understanding what Timms had tried to say.

"Fu…fu…ack…ewe," Timms managed to get out, his body continuing to heal.

"How can I prove my sincerity?" mused Bartholomew. "I know, Zachary. What if I give you a gift, hmm? To show you that I truly only wish for you to know peace."

Bartholomew rose and stepped from in front of Timms, allowing the beaten man to see the gift that Bartholomew intended for him.

Timms was oblivious to the pain that flowed through him as his face stretched in surprised, his swollen eyes widening in disbelief.

The next word that Timms said was clear and full of emotion, and Bartholomew smiled smugly in the knowledge that he had the Lycanthrope.

"Neva!" gasped Timms.

To Be Continued…