Italy, 21st century
Rays of light hushed by the half-lowered blinds played on the polished mahogany surface, on the rows and rows of books on the shelves, on the brown leather of the sofa and chairs, and on the large glass desk.
Damon laid down the pen with which he had signed the documents and leaned back in his chair. A small smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. Tomorrow night he was going to get to meet the soul which he awaited for so long. He closed his eyes and relaxed. He withdrew into his head and opened himself up to the energies just like Irena, his seeress, had taught him.
Then he looked up and thousands upon thousands of threads were floating above him, human spirit energy in blue and purple, the Damned in grey tones and the Lost in green. There used to be golden threads too, the shine of the Fallen suffocating the other colours, but now only one golden thread floated above him, Angelica’s thread.
He reached out and pulled the golden thread down. He possessed enough knowledge that he was able to pinpoint the spirit’s location, but Angelica’s was protected and no amount of poking would find her. He released the thread and pulled down the purple one with a thin gold, grey and green braided spine. He caressed it with his fingers; it was the same case with this one, somebody had put a barricade around it, thwarting his intentions of getting to it and it made him angry.
The sound of the heavy door opening pulled Damon out of his trance and he opened his eyes to see a polished brunet dressed in a grey suit standing by the opened door. Tristan. The always reliable Tristan, the first human that he had turned into Lost, giving him eternal youth as a seventeen-year-old boy.
“Prva hci is here.”
“Is she alone?” Damon swept the financial reports of the Lost’s companies into a black folder and slipped it into the second drawer of his large mahogany desk. The witch had arrived.
“Yes, with her usual two lackeys.” Tristan straightened his silken red tie.
“Show her in.” Damon watched Tristan nod and leave the room, only to reappear with a small woman in a heavy white coat with a hood covering her head.
With a sweep of his arm Damon indicated the woman should sit down. He narrowed his eyes at the two tall white-haired young men that wanted to follow the woman into the room. “Accessories are to stay outside!” Then with his gaze on the woman he added, “You should know that by now.”
Prva, not even turning back, dismissed the two men with a wave of her hand then sat down in the chair before the desk. She pulled the hood down and revealed short white hair and what would have been a beautiful heart-shaped face if it hadn’t been covered with thin, greyish skin. “I want to see Abbas.”
“I know you do.” Damon tapped his fingers against the surface of his desk. “But you can’t. And you know why.”
“That’s right.” Damon resisted the urge to roll his eyes. How many times had they gone over that? More than eight hundred times and it was always the same. She wanted Abbas’s head and he wanted Angelica. And nobody was willing to give the other what they wanted. Not yet anyway. “Just give me the blood.”
She took a thermos from the small bag she carried around her waist and put it on the desk. “I would like to talk with him.”
“No.” Damon reached over the desk and drew the flask to his side. “You can go now.”
She raised herself, put her palms on the desk and leaned over it. “You are forgetting who I am. You can’t dismiss me like that.”
“I just did.”
She hissed, her face distorted into an ugly mask, showing all the years piled on her. Considering there were quite a lot of them, it was a wonder she hadn’t already disintegrated into dust. She brandished her clawed hand at his face.
In a swish, Damon was out of the chair and out from behind the table. His hand was on Prva; he wrapped his fingers around her neck and pushed her backwards until her back hit the wall. His fangs dropped. “Don’t you ever try that again!”
She dug her claws into the hand that was holding her, making him wince, but she couldn’t break his hold.
“You are weak. So weak and old. And every year you are without your darling father, you grow weaker.” He squeezed tighter. “Just give me Angelica.”
She gurgled and he let go of her, watched how she slid down on her knees before him. She gulped air into her lungs, her hands at her throat, and looked up. “I need her. I still need her.”
“She will never give you what you want.” He went back behind the desk and sat down. He lifted his hand and examined the scratches that were rapidly closing up. “Her goal is to destroy your kind, not to give you the means to multiply.”
“It’s easy for you to talk big when you can increase your ranks with a well-placed bite and an exchange of blood or procreation. We can’t. And I don’t trust her, I never said I did.” She stood up and straightened her coat. “But just because she influenced your Beloved to betray you and killed your infant,” she said, ignoring the dark look he sent her, even smirking at it, “that doesn’t mean that she can’t be useful. She gave me sons.”
“Do as you please, I’m not going to say you 'I told you so’; there won’t be any point, when you clan will be extinct.” Angelica was going to be Prva’s funeral, as she had been his Beloved’s, but there was a difference between those women: Trinity was the only one he had ever really cared about. He didn’t give a shit about Prva.
“Angelica is the last of her kind; she and I are the only daughters of eleven still alive and she is the only one who helped Father in his experiments.” She shook her head. “And you want to kill her, to waste all that knowledge. Wasn’t she punished enough when you erased every single one of her kind from this world?”
“No.” Damon had heard all that before. He knew the history. He knew how in the hope of sating the hunger of his nation in this ‘new world,’ the Father had experimented on his daughters; how at the end when he had found the solution and only three daughters remained, their convictions about ‘the food’ had divided the nation into three clans. The Fallen, the Damned and the Lost. The Father’s seventh daughter, the first leader of the Lost, had documented everything for her descendants. “I don’t care about her knowledge. She almost destroyed our clan and she is working hard on destroying yours.” He put his hands on the desk and entwined his fingers. “You’ll see your Father’s head when you bring me Angelica.”
Prva nodded and they both knew that she wouldn’t give up Angelica, not when Angelica had given her children, and three of them were Turners who could turn humans into Damned. But a few Turners were a false hope that Angelica would give Prva more of them, and a bribe to keep Prva from trading her for Abbas.
But it didn’t really matter, because tomorrow he would gain the upper hand and he wouldn’t need Abbas anymore. He would be able to use Abbas as bait to draw out Angelica. Damn, he was going to have so much fun. He suppressed the desire to smirk. It was time to say goodbye to Prva.
“Say hello to Abbas for me, would you?” Prva had already her fingers on the doorknob. “After his feeding, when his mind is clear.”
Damon nodded. “See you next year.”
She put the hood over her head, opened the door and disappeared through it.
Damon stood up and went toward the window. He stood there until he saw Prva and her escorts walking through the entrance door onto the street, then he turned on his heel, picked up the bottle Prva had given him, put it in the pocket of his jacket and went to the hallway.
He went up the stairs, through the long, narrow and dark hallway, passed two doors and opened the third. A cage, made of orange rays of light, occupied almost the whole of the large room. In the middle of the cage was a ruby red tent.
From his pocket Damon took a silver bracelet with white and black stones. He pressed the largest of the white stones. The light from the stones flashed for a moment and then he put the bracelet on his left wrist, protection from Abbas’s telepathic abilities. He passed the rays of light and stepped into the tent furnished with two armchairs, a table between them and a TV before them.
The sound of metal against wood greeted Damon as a half-meter high robot body with a round greenish head in a ball-like jar swayed its way toward him and wrapped itself around Damon’s leg.
The silver pupils lightened as they spotted the silver thermos bottle that peeked from Damon’s pocket, the grey tongue darted out, wetted the thin white lips and the metal claw-like hands reached out for it. The creature bounced on the balls of his feet. “Gimme. Gimme.”
It was sad. The once greatest mind in the whole galaxy was now on the level of a seven-year-old human child and deteriorating with each decade. Even though, without the body and without the constant need for blood, the decay of the mind had slowed down now. Who would have thought that when Trinity severed Abbas’s head from the body she had actually done him a favour?
“Hungry, aren’t we?” Damon held Abbas down with his palm on the glass jar. But Abbas still needed to be fed once a year and the only thing that would do was the blood of Prva or her direct descendant. “Be a good boy and go and sit down.”
Abbas nodded and tripped toward the armchair piled with red furs. With small clicking sounds the jar was divided from the plinth and with his metal hands Abbas removed the glass.
Damon went behind him and put his hands on the hairless head. He might not be able to find the carrier of Trinity’s soul, but that didn’t mean a thing when he could, with a little help, force it to come to him.
* * * * *