"Lars," he gasped.
"Indeed, Cromwell," Lars said, gracefully bowing. "It pleases me to see you still remember."
"How can I forget. Why have you come here?"
"I think you know the answer to that question. I've come for the tome. I intend to have it this night."
"You mean the Tome of Midnight?" Cromwell asked.
"Don't act stupid. You know what I am talking about. Within its pages lies the knowledge to call forth the Blood Fountain, and with the blood fountain on earth it will drain every human dry. When the final human body falls, they will rise as my dark vampire slaves. The Blood Fountain will provide us with an infinite blood supply. The vampire will rule the planet for eternity. Just the way it was always intended."
"Do you think the Elder will allow you near the tome?" Cromwell asked. "He is its protector. He has protected it for centuries. You're no match for him."
"You tend to forget, Cromwell. I'm just as old as the Elder. I will have little trouble dealing with him just as I will have no trouble dealing with you."
"You may find me more of a problem than you think." Cromwell's eyes glowed.
"Yes, you have proven in the past that you are a formidable foe." Lars said. "Nonetheless . . ."
The window exploded inward, dark vampires rushed into the corridor grabbing Cromwell and Lyssia. They struggled, but there were far to many to fend off.
"Get off of me, bastards!" Cromwell said.
"Save your strength, Cromwell. I have no plans on killing you -- yet. I must gather the tome first, then you will stand in the night for the first time."
Lars walked ahead of the others.
Cromwell and Lyssia were forced down the corridor, the candles winked out as they passed them.
"Is it getting dark in here?" Lars asked.
They felt the searing shadow upon their faces.
"What is this tome he wants?" Lyssia asked.
"Shut up, light bitch!" A dark vampire growled and shook her violently.
"Leave her alone, bastard!" Cromwell said and struggled to get at that very vampire.
"You must be new to the life of the undead," Lars said and neared her face, his nose almost touched hers. "You have yet to hear the wondrous tale of the Tome of Midnight. I bet the Elder wouldn't tell you. Isn't that right, Cromwell? He always did have a way of keeping secrets from us younger vampires."
"The Tome of Midnight is an unholy book, discovered one thousand years ago by a human archeologist named Dr. Simon McGanther. The book was discovered in the belly of a very odd cadaver. I say "odd" because it resembled something inhuman."
"Was it a vampire?" Lyssia asked.
"No," Lars shook his head. "As much as I'd love to believe a work of such dark brilliance was conceived by a vampire. I'm afraid--"
"Don't listen to him, Lyssia!"
"But why, Cromwell, I am, after all, telling the truth. Just because she will be exposed to the true nature of what we really are - I mean every one of us - is that so horribly wrong?"
"You know it is! Why do you think it's been kept secret for so long?"
Lars lifted his hands, the candles that had extinguished exploded to life, their small jets of flame roared high. He lowred his risen hands.
"You see, my dear," Lars said. "The Doctor discovered this cadaver, and several like it, in a castle that just rose from the ground one day. Its inner-structure was described as Hell on earth. His log spoke of hundreds of human skeletons littering its insides. Numerous pentagrams and up-side-down crosses decorated its halls and rooms. The body was discovered in a large room. It sat upon a throne of human skulls, and from each arm rest, blood flowed freely to collect in two large pools at the right and left side of the throne--"
"That's enough, Lars!"
"No, it's not enough! The Doctor was stunned by the sight before him. The corpse of a winged, horned creature fed his interest for knowledge. He approached the throne, stared at the liquid crimson that flowed so invitingly into each pool. Can you guess what he did next?"
"I have no idea."
"She has no idea," Lars said, laughing with his followers. "No idea at all!"
"You will, for I'm going to tell you."
"No, damn you!"
Lars delivered a strong backhand, rendering Cromwell unconscious.
"Don't worry about him, my dear." Lars said examining Cromwell's face, held it, between his thumb and forefinger. "He'll be fine. It's but a fraction of what I'm going to do to him later. Now back to my tale."
"No? I believe I must, my dear. I can't leave you in the middle of a good story. The Doctor was quite troubled to begin with - had a history of mental disorders and odd fetishes. He dipped his fingers into the pool of blood and slurped it from them. That was his first mistake, his second, taking the tome from the belly of the beast."
"The creature was the devil?"
"Not the devil, but a very powerful demon. A quick read of the uncovered, and now perfectly legible book, told the tale of a horde of demons that escaped Hell. A museum decided the tome would be safer in their hands. When they went to retrieve it, it was gone. As was the good Doctor and his ever-growing thirst for blood left a nice pile of corpses in his basement - along with his wife and teenage daughter."
Lars noticed that nothing he said seemed to capture the reaction he had expected.
"Do you understand what this means, woman?"
"The Doctor was a vampire?"
"She finally gets one right. He was thee vampire -the first ever. Don't believe the Dracula stories, because that's just what they are. We're the children of demons from Hell - good or bad - it doesn't change a thing."
In an explosion of fury, Lars grabbed Lyssia's arms, both eyes blazed, "So you see, my dear, sooner or later, all light vampires become dark vampires. They find themselves pulled to our dark ways. Even the strongest willed light vampire eventually falls victim to the traits of his true ancestors. So prepare for it, honey. The change is coming."
A large wooden door stood before them. Lars kicked it, sending it crashing to the other side. Twenty or so light vampires jumped to their feet.
"Knock, knock, is anybody home?"
The dark vampires rushed the others, fangs bared, eyes blazed as light vampires attempted to defend their Sanctuary.
"What is the meaning of this outrage?" Elder Masterson asked.
"If It is not the old man himself. You never could stop that mouth from running."
A Light Vampire with long white hair walked out from an adjoining room. Although he was two thousand years old, he did not look a day over thirty-five.
"How dare you, Shadeborn."
"Long time no see, old man."
"Your intrusion will not be tolerated."
"What are you going to do about it?"
The vampires halted their battle.
Elder Masterson approached Lars, dark vampires rushed the Elder. They are all pushed into the air by a powerful psychic blast.
"Then you realize what I can do, but I'm not a creature of violence."
Lars grabbed Elder Masterson by his throat, lifted him off his feet.
"And that is why you will always lose, old man. You never give in to your demonic urges, I know you possess them."
"I do," Elder Masterson nodded. "Yet, I have self-control, something you sorely lack. You will not have the tome this night, or any."
"I am the one being who realizes what our demonic brothers had in mind." A black flame surrounded Lars's body. "That is why I will possess the tome this night, old man!"
"Your evil magic will have no effect here, Lars. This is a Holy place. We still worship God here."
"You worship God?" Lars raised his hands, palms up, purple flames rose from each palm. "I am the God you should be worshipping, old fool. Once the tome is in my hands, you'll serve me, as the human race will."
All of Lar's children shielded their eyes.
"And that is why I will not allow you to obtain the Tome." Elder Masterson raised a hand, it glowed intense with white light. "I will destroy you first!"
"Destroy me? Only you would be so foolish to believe such a feat can be accomplished!"
They thrust their hands out, a torrent of purple flame leapt from Lars hands. A stream of white light jumped from the hands of Elder Masterson, when the opposing powers collided. An explosion of energy knocked all in the refuge off their feet. The forces mingled, merged together as one attempted to force their magic streams closer to the other. It created a light show of brilliance throughout the sanctuary; the other vampires had no idea what to do. During the struggle between the two. The light vampires moved to one side of the room, the dark vampires to the other. All stared in awe and disbelief at the raw power being displayed.
Masterson was an Elder, an extremely powerful one. Still, Cromwell knew he stood little to no chance at beating Lars.
Cromwell watched on, the purple flame stream inched its way toward Elder Masterson. Elder Masterson struggled as he tried to push Lars's purple flame back. Elder Masterson's free hand shot out another beam of light. As it struck the oncoming flame, another brilliant explosion illuminated the room. This managed to halt Lars's fire stream.
"I am impressed, old man! Though, I have yet used my full power!"
"You shall not obtain the Tome, Lars! You mustn't be allowed!"
Cromwell could not stand around and let Lars kill Elder Masterson. Elder Masterson brought Cromwell in out of the dark, gave him a place to stay in dangerous times. He had been his Mentor for over fifty years.
"Time for you to die!"
Lars forced his hands forward, the fire stream cut through Elder Masterson's beam of light. Cromwell made his move, ran toward Lars with fangs bared. As he reached Lars, a cry rang loud. Elder Masterson's body burst into a spire of purple flames. Light vampires used their jackets, attempted to snuff out the mystical fire, but such flames could not be diminished so easily.