Chapter 3

Colt was lost in his own thoughts. 'I can't really believe what I just saw. Runi seemed like such a nice kid... but he just killed that man as if it were nothing.' He wanted to ask Runi... no, demand that Runi explain it to him, but the sobs from the boy that Runi somehow knew was named Duncan got to him first. He was about to push past Runi and try to comfort Duncan when Runi moved first.

Colt watched as Runi gently cradled the older teen boy in his arms and tried to sooth him. Colt wasn't sure what Runi was saying as it was in a different language, but he could tell by the tone that Runi was trying to soothe Duncan.

After a few moments, Runi looked up to Colt and spoke softly. "We really should get him cleaned up. Unless we want to stay here tonight, we need to leave soon."

"I'm sure the bathroom has a shower... would that work?" Colt asked equally as softly. It took just a moment for Colt to figure out Runi's confused look. Colt was now sure that Runi had never heard of showers or even indoor plumbing. Colt took charge, knowing that Runi didn't have a clue. "Get him undressed and then follow me."

He didn't wait for a response, simply moved off to try and find the bathroom. As soon as he did, he waved to Runi so he knew what room he was in, then went in to start the shower. Less than a minute later, Runi came walking in carrying a very naked, very pale boy. Colt figured that the boy was naturally that pale, since he had long red hair, and about a million freckles splattered all over his body. For a brief moment, Colt had an urge to play connect the dots with Duncan's freckles.

Runi stopped dead when he saw the water falling from the spout in the shower, but giggled softly when he put together what was going in. Gently he put Duncan in the shower, then stripping down himself, both he and Colt started to clean the boy up. It was easy to tell that the boy hadn't had a proper shower in a long time.

Runi and Colt worked in silence for the next ten minutes as they gently washed Duncan. About halfway through, Duncan became aware of what was going on, and tried to fight them, but Colt easily overpowered the bigger boy, and convinced him they were just trying to help. Colt couldn't help but laugh as he saw Duncan's VERY pale skin redden when he realized that all three of them were naked.

Trying to get his mind off of what was going on, Colt started to talk to the boy. "Hey there... welcome back to the world of the living.... oh shit... ummm... Are you feeling any better?"

Duncan looked at Colt and tried to smile. "Yeah... a bit. Thanks. But... uh... who are you guys?"

"We are friends. From now on, you may consider me to be your Sire." Runi said as Colt turned off the water. Without anything else said, they got out of the shower, and dried off. Once they were dry, Colt ran out and got the back packs. Even though Duncan was a bit older than Colt, the clothes that Colt had got for himself would fit Duncan.. if just a bit snug.

As for Runi, this would be the first time that Runi had ever worn jeans. Even though he had worn undergarments before, he still could not get over the feeling of silk boxers. "I must dispose of the body... I shall return in thirty minutes." Runi looked Duncan in the eyes. "I know you felt some of my strength when you fed from me..." Duncan only nodded slightly, still very unsure of what his new life meant for him. Runi's eyes softened considerably. "I know this is a terrifying time for you, but I will do all that I can to make it easier for you. Understand, though, I have now taken you as my Childe, which means that you must follow what I tell you to. This has nothing to do with me wanting to have power over you, or to use you as a slave of any sort, this has to do with your very survival. I know I look very much younger than you are, however, know that I have been alive since before the building of many of the Pyramids that you are taught about in your public schools. I am helping you because someone asked me to, and I owe that man much. I will do whatever it takes to help you through this time of your life. Okay?"

Duncan couldn't help the tears that sprang from his eyes. He didn't want this life, but here was someone who was offering to help him. Colt, for his part, was shocked. That was perhaps the longest single statement that he had ever heard Runi make. What's more, it gave him a whole new insight into the person he was starting to consider a very close friend, and perhaps more.

Runi turned to Colt and spoke softly, not making it so Duncan could not hear, but more to set the tone. "Please watch over him. He is very scared right now, but you have no need to fear him attacking you. I do not believe he would do so even if it meant saving his own life." Looking between the two of them, he spoke one last time. "Why don't you two get to know each other, and share your histories. It will be good."

Both Colt and Duncan nodded, while Duncan dropped his head and hid his eyes behind his red hair. Runi simply nodded to himself, walked over, picked up his long knives and slid them behind his belt at his back, then picked up the body of the dead man easily and went out the door.

Once the door shut, both Colt and Duncan finished dressing, then Colt sat on the bed. "So... ummm... can I ask what happened?" When Duncan looked at him questioningly, Colt explained it more. "You know... how you became a... ummm... vampire."

"Wow... you don't beat around the bush, do you?" Colt blushed and Duncan laughed. He sat down on the bed next to Colt and looked off into space. "I guess there's not really any reason not to tell you. But you gotta promise me to tell me about Runi when I'm done."

Colt nodded his agreement, and Duncan started talking. "To be honest, I can't really believe I am telling you this. Usually I don't talk about things much, but for some reason I know I can trust you. I wonder if Runi had something to do with that?" Colt shrugged so Duncan just kept going. "I guess it doesn't matter anyways." Duncan paused to gather his thoughts. "I assume you can tell by my accent that I'm from Scotland. Edinburgh, to be exact. My father was a professor at the university, and my mother was a school teacher. We were here to attend a conference that my father was speaking at, when a man approached us one night on the way back to the hotel. He started talking to my father, and the next thing we know the three of us are following him. I'm not sure why or how, but he talked us into following him back to where he lives. As soon as we got there, he attacked us." Duncan started crying again, but he continued to talk, as if in a trance. Colt couldn't help but notice that the tears themselves seemed to glow. "First thing he did was tie up my parents, then me. After that he kept telling me to watch what he did, as I'd need to know how to do it soon. Then he... he bit their necks... and... and drank them till they died. One right after the other. At some point I must have passed out cause I woke when he threw water on my face."

He fell silent for a few moments, and Colt just let him have the time he needed. He didn't really want to hear it, but he knew that Duncan needed to tell him. He was sure that Runi had something to do with Duncan being able to talk about what happened, but he had no idea what. "When I woke that time, I was laying on my stomach tied down to the bed. It took me a second to realize that I was naked... and that the man had done something to me... I don't know what, but I was very relaxed... I think he drugged me or something. Then he... he..."

Colt was torn.. part of him wanted to run to the bathroom and vomit after hearing what the man did to Duncan, while another part wanted to run out, find the man, and rip his nuts off. The largest part of him though, wanted to do exactly what he was doing: Holding Duncan while he cried.

Runi knew he didn't need more than two minutes to get rid of the body, but he had something else to take care of as well. Walking out of the room, he was gladdened to know that Duncan was going to open up to Colt. He turned a corner and walked deep into the dark alleyway. When he was sure he was alone, he set the body down, stepped back, and then the body spontaneously combusted. After a few minutes, Runi let the fire die away, and all that was left was a greasy black mark on the ground. When he was done, he looked to the entrance of the alleyway and spoke. "I am well aware that the two of you are there. You may as well show yourselves so that we may dispense with this silly game."

His hands slowly went to grasp the knives at his back as two figures appeared at the mouth of the cave and started to walk towards him. One of them was obviously an adult male, as he stood close to seven feet tall, with very wide shoulders and bulging muscles. The other one, though, would have made others overlook her, as she was much smaller than her companion. However, Runi was not fooled. By the way they walked, with him two steps behind the girl, she was the one in charge, and by simply reading both of their surface thoughts, Runi knew she was actually the more dangerous one.

When the two were closer, Runi could now make out features. The man looked as he had imagined, nothing remarkable about him other than his size. The girl was another matter. She looked no more than fourteen or fifteen, and Runi could tell that she had not been in darkness for longer than a year or two. The man had been around for a while longer, but was still he was not anywhere near old.

As they got closer, the girl held her hands up and out in a symbol that they were not there to fight. "Please do not be afraid; we are not here to harm you," the girl said, and Runi actually couldn't help but bark out a brief laugh, and the girl actually grinned. "Okay, very true. Neither one of us would cause you much problems if you decided to end our existence."

Runi allowed his hands to move away from his blades a bit as the two of them stopped about ten feet away from him. "May I ask then why you two have been following me and my companions since we entered the town this evening?"

The girl actually looked surprised and stammered. "You... you knew?"

Runi gave a half smile. "Of course, child. I will say that you're good... very good. But I have had people much better than you try to track me down. Had I not been interested in why you were following me, I would have not allowed you to find me. Now, please tell me what you are looking for me for."

The two looked at each other briefly, and the man shrugged. The girl nodded and then stepped forward. "My name is Jennifer, and this is Samson... Before I go any further, I need to tell you that our sire has the gift of foresight..." Runi couldn't help but groan at hearing that. He'd dealt with the 'prophets' before, and never did it end up being very good for him. Jennifer smiled, but continued.

"Our sire informed us we needed to search out the one who had named himself 'The Destroyer.' Once we found him, we were told that we must join him as one of his companions."

"Why?" Runi asked suspiciously.

"If we don't join you, we'll all die. If we find you and join you, we might die," she answered softly.

"Some chance is better than no chance," the big man rumbled in his deep voice. "I'll take some over none, thank you."

After Duncan cried himself out, he looked up at Colt and smiled a weak smile. "Thanks."

"It's no problem, man... I cried my share of tears over the last few months myself," Colt said in a faraway voice.

"Why's that?" Duncan said sniffing away his tears.

"Well... I guess since you're a 'brother in pain' now, it wouldn't hurt to tell you... hell, you told me about your shitty life, might as well tell you about mine." He took a deep breath and stared at the wall as he spoke. "Both my parents were pieces of shit, to be blunt... mom liked to drink and loved to beat up on me. Dad... well, let's just say dad liked little boys. The problem is, Dad's a cop and got lots of friends high up. Finally I had more than enough and left. Since then I've been living on the streets doing whatever it took to survive, until Runi saved my ass. That was only a couple days ago, and to be honest... and don't tell Runi... but I kinda like him."

Duncan's head snapped over to stare at Colt. "You mean... you're... gay? And... and he's a.. a vampire!" he stammered out, not sure what to think.

Colt, for his part, couldn't help but laugh. "You got it in one!" Then his face turned serious. "Is that going to be a problem?"

Duncan never got a chance to respond as they both turned as the door suddenly opened. "I am back... and I have brought guests." they heard Runi say.

Both boys jumped to their feet and turned towards Runi. Duncan was struck dumb at the sight of the two people with him. At first his eyes could not believe the size of the man that walked into the room, ducking down as he came through the doorway, but then he saw the girl that was behind her, and his jaw dropped. He had never seen anyone who was as beautiful as she was. The way her blonde hair flowed around her face, and the somewhat pale skin of her absolutely flawless face, made him wonder if she wasn't some sort of porcelain doll. She looked to be about his age, and somewhere in the back of his teenaged mind, he was glad to know that seeing such beauty still had the proper effect on him even if he was technically dead.

Colt had a somewhat different reaction, and one that surprised him. He saw the looks that the girl was giving to Runi, and he felt something he hadn't felt before... jealousy. Runi must have sensed it because he looked over and met Colt's eyes. Colt again felt something he had never felt before. The only way he could describe it was Runi brushed his mind with his own, calming him. It was almost like in that instant, the two of them were linked in a way that let Colt know that Runi felt something for him too.

After calming down Colt, Runi turned to his two new companions. "Jennifer, Samson, I would like to introduce you to my friend Colt, and my adoptive Childe Duncan." Both of the newcomers' eyes went up in surprise; adopting was not something unknown of in the vampire community, but it was very rare.

"Without going into details that are only for Duncan to share," Runi said in answer to their unasked questions, "I have taken Duncan as my Childe."

"Did the council agree to this?" Jennifer asked with a somewhat worried tone.

Runi's eyes hardened to the point that Jennifer had to fight not to step back. "The council will be informed of what I have done."

Even though neither of the two had any clue about who Runi really was, both of them suddenly felt that they had met someone that really didn't have to worry too much about the council. At the same time it made them feel much better about their situation, and even more terrified.

"Now," Runi started as he took a seat on the bed, "I think it would only be appropriate for you two to explain exactly what you are doing here, and what it is you want from me."

Jennifer moved over to the other bed and sat down, while Colt and Duncan sat on the same bed that Runi was sitting on. Samson remained standing, and seemed content to let Jennifer do the talking. "How much can I explain in front of everyone?"

Runi regarded Jennifer darkly, and simply said, "all of it."

"As you wish, Elder." She paused for a moment to compose her thoughts, and Runi jumped in, sitting a little forward as he spoke.

"One, I am not now, nor will I ever permit myself to become, an offical elder. In all my years I have never found one of them to be anything more then a bag of wind that likes to try and use their power to the detriment of everyone around them, while claiming it is for the good of the vampire peoples. Second, I have a strange feeling we will be traveling together a lot, so please call me by my name. While honorifics have their place, and I expect them to be used when the time is appropriate, I will not tolerate them being used when I am around only friends."

Jennifer sat back a little, then wiped her hands on her legs, wiping away the sweat on them. "Of course. I'm sorry." she said, and Runi sat back nodding.

Silence reigned for a few moments as Jennifer got her thoughts together, then she sighed, then started. "I'll go over everything so that everyone is on the same page. Two and a half months ago, our Sire told us about a vision he had... see, our sire had the gift of foresight. Anyways, he told us that The Destroyer was waking again, and that this time, we needed to be with him if we are to have any chance at surviving. I don't know any more than that, or I would tell you."

She said the last part almost apologetically to Runi, who simply smiled. "I know you're telling me everything you know... because I already know it."

Both she and Samson gasped as she stuttered out. "But how?"

"It's rather simple, when you have spent as many years in darkness as I have, there are certain abilities that become unlocked over time. One of those is that a vampire's mind is as easy for me to read as a human's is for a vampire. Very rarely do I use it on people I am with; however, I feel no issue reading yours as I did not know if you were speaking the truth and were trying to be a threat to my friends."

Jennifer blinked and for a moment had to fight back the urge to be upset, not only had having her mind read so easily, but also the fact that Runi had discounted both herself and Samson as no threat to him, only to his friends. Then she remembered some of the things she had heard about other times when this little boy had been awake, and the destruction that he had caused. 'The Destroyer' was not a name that was given to him randomly.

Colt spoke up, sensing that she was rather upset, and trying to change the subject. "So... how old are you?"

She smiled at him as she sat back a little bit on the bed. "Well.. I am sure you know that needs two answers. The first is, I was turned when I was fifteen. The second is, I have been in darkness for a little over two years now. I was a normal teenaged girl, until one night when I went to a party. I got a little drunk, and did some other things that a nice young girl like myself should not have, then I tried to stumble home. On the way there, someone decided that I looked good for a snack. Jeremiah, our sire, fought them off when he found them, but by then it was too late, I was dying... so he turned me fully."

"Were you scared?" Duncan asked in a very small and shy voice.

Without a smile or hesitation, she responded. "No... I was fucking terrified! I had a great life, was captain of the cheerleading team, and had a boyfriend that I loved... the next thing I know, I'm dead and moving to a city I never knew. It was the scariest time in my entire life..." she paused as she reached across and took Duncan's hand in her own, forcing the boy to look her in the eyes, his tears matching her own. "But you know what...? Knowing what I do now, and WHO I know, I would not change it for anything. I can tell that you just had your first feeding, and I know how hard that can be. Hell, I still don't like the fact that I have to kill people to survive, but Jeremiah taught me one very important thing. There are three types of vampires, the first one is one that relishes in the death they cause, and use it to make their own lives better. The second kind get so consumed by what they have become that they will themselves to death. Then there are the third kind, those that take what they have been given, and do the best they can with it. Yes, I need to kill people to survive, but you know what? This world is over-populated with assholes that really deserve to die, so as long as I pick the right target, I am doing the world a great service by eliminating them. Not to mention, I can use what was given to me by being what I am, to try and help out everyone around me. That is what I try to do."

Duncan's tears were flowing freely down his face, but he was smiling. Nodding, he could only manage two words, "Thank you." They were said so softly that Colt barely heard them; however, the three other vampires had no problem hearing them. Runi smiled as he placed his hand on Duncan's shoulder.

"This is not an easy life; however, I truly feel that if you work at it, you can do a lot of good for many people, as well as enjoying your life to the best possible level. If it is your wish, I will teach you how to make sure that the person you feed on is not someone that is a good person or innocent in any way. That way you will not starve yourself to the point where you will eat from anyone you meet, and trust me, if the hunger gets that bad, you will."

Duncan only nodded as he looked over at Runi, then back to Jennifer. She gently squeezed his hand, then sat back. Runi took a deep breath and then asked a question, not really for his own information as he already knew, but he wanted Jennifer to know that he he knew, plus it would help put things in perceptive for Colt and Duncan. "How were you able to get information about me? Last time I was awake, I heard that the Elders had locked up everything they could find that even hinted at my existence."

Jennifer gasped as she looked at him, but before she could say anything. "I think I better answer that one," came the soft rumble from the doorway as Samson moved from where he was standing by the door, to sit next to Jennifer. "To understand, you must know some of my past. I was a military officer, trained in intelligence gathering and special operations. I was part of a multi-national team set up to cross-train the nation's intelligence teams, or spies. Anyways, I have always been this big, so I had always concentrated on stealth. That was of course, before I got turned. So after our Sire killed himself, I decided that we needed some more information, so I went and did what I did best... I got the information... or at least as much as I could find, which was not very much. I did find out, though, that there is more information in the private library of the high council; however, not even I can get in, even if I knew where it was."

"So in other words, your sire told you to find Runi, and you're not even sure why?" Colt asked, breaking his silence.

"That's basically true. We know a little bit about what he's done in the past, but not very much. However, both of us trusted our Sire, and know that he would only tell us to do this if he truly thought it was important." She turned and looked at Runi, then slipped off the bed to kneel before him. Samson did the same thing next to her.

"We both know that being in your company can be dangerous; however, if you will have us, we would both like to join you on your travels." Jennifer said almost reverently.

Colt and Duncan were both watching Runi, and both saw his jaw tighten. Neither knew exactly why he was upset, but Colt thought it was because of the formality of it. Flexing his jaw, Runi finally spoke. "There is another reason why you wish to be with me. Please state it, so that the air can be fully clear, and from this point on, you have my word that I will not invade your private thoughts."

Jennifer looked to Samson, who nodded his head; she sighed and both got up to their feet. Samson went over to stand by the door again, while she sat back on the bed.

"Before Samson was turned, eighteen years ago, he had a lover that had wanted to turn him; however, Jeremiah turned him first. He once told us that he had a vision of what would happen had the one who wanted to turn Samson was able to. Our Sire told us that he had to stop that, no matter what the cost. When the other Vampire found out, he swore vengeance on Jeremiah, and together he and Samson went into hiding. Jeremiah only came out a few times since then; one of them was when I was turned."

She got a far off look, and kept talking. "Jeremiah had many friends, who were able to blunt much of the anger from this other vampire, as long as he stayed out of sight; however, now that Jeremiah has died, no one is going to blunt the effects on us. Twice Samson has had to fight off vampires sent by this other, to kill us."

"And this other vampire is who?" Runi asked, and by the look on his face he already knew.

"His name is Daniel Windsor; he currently leads the vampire council in this area."

Runi simply nodded as Colt and Duncan blanched white. "Well, I think that is enough for one night. I assume you and Samson do not have a problem sharing a bed?"

Jennifer, momentarily confused by the change in topic, finally nodded. "No... we have done it many times."

"Good, Colt and Duncan can share this one, and I will take the floor. I find that more comfortable. I also think we should get ready for sleep soon, as tomorrow evening will be very busy."

"Why do you say that?" Colt asked as he stood.

"Because tomorrow night you guys need an education... the following night, I think it is time to introduce ourselves to the council."