In which death frightens us all
The abandoned city of Rosewood, in which various scientific excavations were present, has been destroyed. A man that appears to be reaching his late twenties crouches down right at the edge of the crater that once held the city. Nothing survived, nothing remains, and no one knows what caused this calamity. It was up to the man along with various retainers within the research field to figure out what to make of the remains.
The strangest thing about this, there is no clear lead on who caused this. The man figured it could not have been them, not the vampires. They all desire to learn as much as they can about the past, to cure the infection that plagues their kind. Besides, there were vampires here too. If they wanted to attack this city, they would not needlessly cull their numbers.
Speaking of vampires, it seems that they sent one of their highest-ranking members to check the crater. This man knew of that vampire, the one called Wrath. The man considers him more like a wraith than a vampire. He looks ghastly, his skin too pale and frail like, the color of his pupils like crystal, and his hair almost seems translucent given how white it is. Wrath wears robes of blue and black, making him look even more like a wraith. Given the man’s rank, Wrath goes to his direction. The man notices a sword within its sheath on Wrath’s side, wondering momentarily if he always carries such weapons with him.
“A priest.” Wrath announces slowly, the man recognizing the accent as similar to his, “And which region? I mix them up.”
“Father Grigori.” the man says, “Of the Foundation of Slav.”
“Russian.” Wrath says, a cruel smile twisting on his face, “I know the Slavs of that nation.”
“A dead nation.” Grigori insists, looking back to the crater.
“Not dead, if there are people who still hail from Russia.” Wrath says.
Grigori shakes his head, still trying to make sense of this crater. Wrath walks to the crater’s edge as well, Grigori watching him leap down to the bottom. It did startle him, to see vampires perform such acts. When Wrath hit the bottom, Grigori watches him only stand there for a moment before leaping up in the air and float back to the top.
“Unusually deep.” Wrath comments when he reaches Grigori’s level, “have you measured it?”
The retainers did comment on the deepness of the chasm too. They measured it to be about three miles deep, the diameter of it remains unknown though. He relates this to Wrath, seeing him chuckle over the number. He goes back on ground, sitting at the edge of the chasm.
“Destroyed everything.” Wrath says, “Down to the sewer systems, power lines, and storm drains.”
“That is what conclusions we came to.” Grigori says.
“A vampire did this.” Wrath says.
Raising a brow, Grigori edges closer to Wrath, unsure of what he means by this.
“Are you sure?” Grigori asks, “We know vampires worked here too, and they have died in this calamity.”
“I said a vampire did this.” Wrath says, “I did not say it was intentional. If it was, do you think such an attack would have occurred?”
Grigori knew enough about vampires to know that what Wrath said had some truth in it. Vampires were insanely paranoid about their movement, to the point where they all have papers and infection status, along with tests every two month. Getting the infection was not an instant death sentence, though timing was critical to say the least. Though with acts like this, Grigori suspected Wrath’s honesty.
“I am fully aware of how things are handled in the vampire world.” Grigori comments, “But even you cannot predict all attacks.”
“I can predict attacks.” Wrath says, “And I just saved you from death.”
Confused, Grigori and Wrath rise up, moving away from the edge. All the retainers pay a lot of attention to the two, Grigori notices. Wrath appears nonchalant.
“Death is not a trivial matter.” Grigori says firmly, “You vampires may have various advantages, but even death must frighten you.”
“Death frightens us all.” Wrath says, “Which is why I am here. The infected numbers rise and fall, all because of stubborn vampires who believe themselves to be gods and the humans that neglect to inform others that the blood they donate is tainted. We are so close to escaping death, yet at the same time, we fall back down into the grave.”
“If that is so, Wrath, you are in an esteemed position…” Grigori starts.
Grigori cuts off when he sees Wrath expression change. A curious look, or that of disbelief. Given how most vampires are, Grigori finds any sort of emotion that goes beyond simple ones something to pay close attention to, in case something goes awry. Wrath soon begins to laugh, covering his mouth as he crouches down slightly. His other hand wraps around his waist, almost as if he laughs so hard to the point of pain.
“Father Grigori! I am surprised at you!” Wrath says, relaxing his laugh and posture, “Do you mean to tell me that you actually think my position is respectable?”
“I was speaking in the sense of your kind…” Grigori says, “You are one of the seven. On if I find you respectable, that is a different matter.”
“You humans and your concepts of important figures foreign to what you already know. Humorous.” Wrath says, chuckling a bit more, “No wonder you always get history wrong. Nay, my position is akin to yours, Father Grigori. I may be one of the seven, but my ranking matches yours.”
“But.” Girgori starts, “You are a well off man!”
“If I am a well off man, I am the pope.” Wrath deadpans, “My superiors have better positions. They command me to go out, execute their orders. I suppose you can call me an administrator. That is what you priests are, to me. A priest is not a pope, no matter how much you desire it to be that way.”
Even vampires do not casually joke about the pope. Grigori takes in a breath, crossing his arms. Wrath considers the two on equal positions, in some way. Though given how Wrath speaks to him, Grigori believes that Wrath might think of himself as a teacher.
“So you say, Wrath.” Grigori says, “but if you are just an administrator, and this is a serious calamity, why are you here?”
“I could ask the same of you.” Wrath counters, “Why does the Bishop send you? Or the Cardinal? Or even the pope.”
“I suppose it is because we are their underlings.” Grigori says.
“Close.” Wrath says, “We are all delegated to different tasks. That, and as the executor of orders, I am in the perfect position to fulfil what abilities I provide. Just like how you have your retainers. Not everyone can be a scientist.”
Grigori looks over to the retainers, who all quickly go back to their tasks. They wanted no part in this conversation Wrath and he is having. Grigori never actually spoke with a vampire on such casual terms, looking back at Wrath and wants to get as much information as he can out of him.
“You are not well off.” Grigori says, “How can that be? I heard your family certainly is within wealth.”
“I haven’t eaten in three months.” Wrath says, “Out of paranoia that all the blood I have is tainted. My paranoia is justified, all my reserves tested positive.”
“How can that be?” Grigpori asks, “I know vampires require quite a supply of blood, but all your reserves…”
“If I had an answer for that, would I still be blood deprived?” Wrath asks.
It certainly explained why Wrath looked horrible. From Grigori’s knowledge, vampires can, and often do, go without blood for years at a time. Though if Wrath has not eaten in three months, he does wonder how the vampire still has such composure.
“If it’s such a trifle, maybe I can donate my blood.” Grigori says.
He sees Wrath’s expression turn to a flurried look, and then to a more solemn one. He sees Wrath’s eyes start glowing red, though his expression suggests that he’s getting angry, not bloodthirsty. Grigori realizes his mistake just in time.
“I do not jest!” Grigori says, “And besides, the church dictates that all members of it get tested for signs of the infection. It may not harm humans as it does vampires, but we don’t want to find out what happens if the infection mutates and turns humans into monsters.”
Wrath takes in a breath, letting it out and relaxing back to his casual posture.
“I am unsure if I should thank you for the offer… or call you an idiot.” Wrath says, “I can’t take a donation from you, no matter how much I want to sedate the burn in my throat. I cannot for political reasons, and it would not suit my conscience.”
“I understand the first, but the second…” Grigori starts, shaking his head, “Nevermind. I feel that if the situation called for it, I wouldn’t mind if you had to take blood from me.”
Wrath chuckles to himself, walking away from Grigori and goes to his retainers. Grigori follows, the two of them getting updates on what information they were able to gather. It was not much, seems that various people that worked at the city took many shortcuts or were generally lazy. Half of the reports were missing details, suggesting more of lack of insight rather than a cover up. Wrath takes a note of one of the case files, one that Grigori found interesting as well. The person who had direct control over the project was Dr. Esther Kora.
“The one Esther had.” Wrath says, “What is there on her?”
“Not much.” the retainer says, “Only that it was some sort of observation. Just one single room and some unspecified item of interest. Usually had jots that said no change… Though I never heard of her before.”
“There is a reason why.” Wrath says, “Dr. Kora has been dead for a long while, and vampires do not take kindly to hearing about that traitorous wretch. Now I see why I was sent here… pesky orders.”
Grigori did suspect as much, he heard of the doctor. She was the one who developed a lot of cures and treatments over the years. The infection went down because of her works. What happened that lead to her execution, Grigori did not know. It was serious enough for it to occur, given what good she done. And the world suffered after her death, no cure for the infection that makes vampires into mad idiotic monsters and humans more susceptible to diseases. He still had little idea as to why Wrath was really here.
“Here on orders…” Grigori says.
“Well, I was following infected numbers.” Wrath says, “And my superiors called me, said that I needed to see why Dr. Kora’s name appeared, and told me to find the one ranked Judas. They said I would have an interesting conversation with him. I can certainly say I was not disappointed.”
Before Grigori can ask what Wrath means, they hear the familiar deafening screeches. Everyone within the vicinity look up to the sky, seeing a large group of infected flying vampires traveling towards them.
“I count twenty. I like those odds.” Wrath says casually, unsheathing the sword on his side.
Grigori backs away from Wrath, glancing to his back and sees wings of a demonic presence with bones sticking out form. They’re massive, Grigori almost thinks that they’re twice the size of Wrath himself.
“Twenty fully infected monsters, all airborne… and you like those odds.” Grigori says.
“I normally fight one hundred.” Wrath says, “This is child’s play.”
He flies off, Grigori taking a hold of the cross he wears and begins praying. Mostly because he knows Wrath can handle all those vampires. He and the rest of the retainers are an entirely separate matter.
Thankfully for him, it seems that some of the retainers had some defensive skills under their belt. They all pull out guns of a high caliber, keeping steady as they observe Wrath and the other infected vampires. Grigori watches this action, seeing Wrath clearly capable of handling such odds. Though of course, a handful of other infected vampires head for them. The retainers with weapons get ready to hold a defensive position, a sure enough gunfight spurring from this.
Unbeknownst to all of them, while there was the large group of flying infected, there was a small number of ground bound infected as well. Maybe five or seven, Grigori could not tell. But that was more than enough. One ground fighter, that’s enough to cause problems for Grigori and the other retainers. The flying ones were frail and easy to dispatch of with silver bullets. Ground ones had a more resilient skin that sometimes ignored bullets.
Wrath was dealing with the numbers in the air quickly, though not quick enough.
Grigori and some of the other retainers start running away, knowing that it’s a futile attempt to fight the ground ones. Stranger still, the ground and flying monstrosities do not attack the retainers. Grigori finds, to his horror, they head for him specifically. They outright ignore the retainers, which was a baffling realization.
Grigori hardly had time to process the information when a sharp object stabs through his back and out to his chest. The pain jars him, causing him to scream out. He thinks that the torture only just began, knowing what the infected monsters do to their prey.
He receives a slight mercy when Wrath swings down, fighting off the remaining numbers. With each swish of his blade, it cuts through the monsters, instantly defeating them. They turn into ash, which fades away in mere moments. Grigori believes that his time is over, collapsing on his side as he starts coughing up blood. Wrath stabs his sword on the ground, walking over to Grigori and crouching down on his level.
“So much for saving me from death.” Grigori says weakly.
“Hm.” Wrath says, leaning down farther and mumbles, “It would be such a waste. And I am far too curious…”
Before Grigori can comprehend what Wrath means, he lays helplessly as Wrath bites down hard on his neck. He can hardly get out a scream, a strong burning sensation coursing through his body stemming from the bite. Wrath holds on for a few moments, pulling away and wiping his mouth with the sleeve of his robes.
“You are mine, young Grigori.” he hears before passing out.