|I am putting this cute little Chibi up here for reasons - among many....Cabal's cute as hell like this!|
|Just some new stuff to peruse! Sketchiness for the win!|
Such Patient Sorrow...Water.Such Patient Sorrow... by Delta-Hexagon
So much water.
It was almost sad, in some strange way the Hunter couldn't quite comprehend. This was a natural phenomena: an underground ocean created over tens of millions of years by the steadily pouring acid rain that refused to let up. Nature had created it, and nature had populated it. Then why would something so natural seem so unbearably sad? Why was it that every time the Hunter came down here, immersed herself in the underwater tranquility of Maridia, that she was gripped with such agonizing sorrow and loneliness ?
A skeletal fish swam languidly by, its drooping fins stirring up the sediment that had collected after aeons on the cave floor. Even the fauna here looked sad. The fish's mouth was half open and gaping and its down turned eyes, glowing a faint yellow, made it look like it was about to start crying.
Maybe that's where the ocean came from, she mused with a smirk. Maybe the fish had cried it here.
She stopped to watch the fish swim by, resting her hand on a
I have a strange fascination for a mix of Vampires, Dhampirs, Mutants and a strong flavor of Science Fiction! I love to write and draw, and projects that let me do both!
Current Residence: Central California
Favourite genre of music: Country
Favourite photographer: Ansel Adams
Favourite cartoon character: Goliath - Gargoyles
Personal Quote: "Do I look like a myth to you?" ~ Cabal
6: Downward Spiral
Meirakat stared up at the night sky, marveling at the wash of stars above them. The skies were so clear – an unusual event – and he tried to recall the last time he witnessed so much of the heavens. A little pang of sadness twisted his middle, realizing how much Elpis would like this view. Why she wasn’t at his side drew a lump to his throat, and he spent the next few moments fighting back tears. In private moments like this, he could give in to weakness.
She was truly sick. The progression of her illness was frighteningly fast. His lovely wife was hardly a shell of her former self. Not only was she unable to get sustenance from her meals, she was vomiting them up more often than not. The medic had gone from providing her emergency stores to giving her infusions of blood because nothing would sit in her stomach for more than a few moments. And still she was unable to absorb the nutrients her body was desperate for. She had lost nearly twenty pounds already, her body thinning from her voluptuous curves to a skeletal frame in less time than Meirakat expected. She had become so weak as to not be able to rise from her bed.
Meirakat knew these horrors because he had spent very little time away from her side. For the past week he had been at her side more than he had been tending the business of running this clan. This, even, was only a small break in his vigil. His head tilted just a little as footsteps approached. He dropped his gaze to clear signs of weakness from his expression and slowly twisted. Alstaire stopped two steps shy of him and bowed deeply.
“My Lord, Tarsus is demanding you see him.”
That pang in his gut returned, much harder. Already he knew it wasn’t good news. Though he had a good idea what the conversation was going to be about, he still asked, “What does he want?”
Alstaire accompanied him, speaking as they walked. “It’s about the virus, sir. He wouldn’t give me much more than that via communicator.”
The muscles in his jaw worked over that. He grunted to disguise the fear that was steadily working through his nerves. “Very well. I would like you to accompany me for this meeting, Alstaire.”
“Of course, My Lord.”
When they made it to the infirmary, it was much changed from the time of the first outbreak. Cots lined all of the halls, most filled with one or another of the house members – all in throes of the disease. Meirakat’s eyes widened even as his gut dropped into his shoes. Tarsus met him before he could make it to the man’s office. The medic looked fidgety and distraught – like he hadn’t slept much in the past few days.
“The situation is scaling out of our control!” he began before Meirakat could even greet him. “Fifty new cases, fifty! All with the same early symptoms.”
Meirakat drew back from him, from the manic way he invaded his space. “Calm down Tarsus. Speak logically.”
Tarsus didn’t even seem to hear his lord. “We are running out of stores, running out of ways to try to keep them fed.”
“Tarsus!” Meirakat barked, growing anxious at the broken way he was relaying information.
The medic snapped upright, blinking as if to capture his sanity again. “My Lord?”
“I need context here. Start again, what’s going on?”
Drawing another deep breath to center his thoughts, the medic said, “The number of cases is expanding exponentially. All of the vampires who fed from purported carriers have shown signs of infections. Body aches, fevers, inability to rest – constant hunger – a general withering away as the tissues eat themselves to stay fed. Some afflictions advance more rapidly than others. There have been… deaths.” His eyes got large at the last statement.
“What? Who?” Meirakat demanded. An irrational fear that Elpis might be one of the dead gripped him for a moment. He had just seen her, was she that ill?
“Dorado still hangs on, though I fear for not much longer. Hermes has already died from his affliction.”
“What?” Meirakat hissed. Hermes had only been showing symptoms for perhaps two weeks.
Tarsus nodded. “There have been five others, though several of those deaths were from being so mad with their hunger that they set themselves upon one another. In their weakened condition, their healing ability didn’t work. They literally bled out.”
Meirakat winced. Bleed-out was unusual in their kind. Their accelerated healing allowed lost blood to be replaced quickly, usually faster than it could leave the body. It was horrifying to think they were so emaciated that their bodies couldn’t handle healing.
For more egregious wounding there had been Helios’ kiss. The art of solar healing was lost on this generation. The practice had fallen out of favor long ago. Vampires these days were too fearful of the possible negative effects to even risk the method.
Tarsus had gone on to say, “We have no resistance to this illness, My Lord. We have been disease free for so long, our bodies don’t know how to fight this malady.”
Meirakat nodded, knowing the truth of the medic’s statement. No human malady had ever felled empusai. He’d lived through many of the plagues that winnowed the human populations throughout history. He had never feared, walking through areas where humans were dying by the scores, that he would contract their illnesses. Consumption, AIDs, Ebola… he’d been exposed to them all and never feared it would make him sick, much less kill him. Vampire bodies knew little about senescence, were programmed to be well ahead of any healing a human could possibly think about. How had humans found something that would succeed where so many other viruses failed?
Purposely, Meirakat pulled himself out of those thoughts. “The new cases, they claim still to have fed from clean sources?”
“Many of them swear they fed from the stock below and nowhere else, My Lord.”
“I don’t believe that.” He glared at Tarsus. “Can we yet detect a carrier?”
Tarsus, seeming to anticipate his question was already shaking his head in the negative. “There is no physical signs that a human carries the virus. We have seen no discernable change in aura from an infected human and a clean one.”
“And what about testing their blood?”
“We are trying to develop some kind of test for the virus, but,” Tarsus paled, “this is where my limited knowledge fails us, My Lord. I am struggling to see the difference.”
“We are trying, My Lord.”
A muscle in Meirakat’s cheek jumped, one of many tell-tales of his growing frustration with the matter. He forgot his frustration when he noticed Tarsus hugging his middle tightly.
“Tarsus? Are you well?”
The bags under his eyes were thrown into sharp relief as he shot a look at Meirakat. “So… hungry,” Tarsus muttered.
“Then, take a break. Get a meal in.”
“Just ate, My Lord.” His cheeks grew heated as he admitted that. “And I’m still hungry.”
Despite himself, Meirakat retreated a step. “No!”
“I think… I think Adele has it, too.” His eyes took on a desperate, hopeless expression.
The two were the closest things the house had to experts in medicine. If they succumbed to illness there was little hope for the population.
“I swear, My Lord,” he cried, “I have only fed from those provided me! I swear I didn’t know if they were infected.”
Meirakat’s brows pinched, “You’re still saying this is communicable?”
“I say only I didn’t feed from a carrier, My Lord.”
His brain still balked at the notion they had a vampire’s version of deadly cold. It simply couldn’t be, it was unfathomable. He shook his head in the negative to emphasize his thoughts.
The medic’s expression crumpled, reading Meirakat’s body language easily. “What other explanation is there?”
Instead of arguing Meirakat growled, “Alstaire?”
The man had been so silent, Meirakat had only just remembered the man had accompanied him down here.
“My Lord,” he replied even as he drew even.
“I want a new census. Get every able bodied vampire we still have. I want to know just how many of us are already affected. You’ll have the numbers to me before dawn, is that clear?”
“Yes, My Lord.” With that Alstaire slipped away like the shadow he was.
Meirakat left the infirmary and the mewling Tarsus at his heels.
Despite that all he wanted to do was to check on his mate, he knew he had his own health to look after. If he did not remain strong neither would the house. He had abstained from a feeding now five days and the edges of his hunger gnawed incessantly on the lining of his stomach. Instead of retiring to his quarters, where he’d had Elpis returned, he headed for the stocks. While the human populations were now housed all together in one area of the basements, he slipped to a more private area off to the left of the pens.
Mauricio peered up as Meirakat opened the door and then quietly slipped it shut again. Without any cues, the man hit his knees and exposed his throat to his Lord.
“Groveling at my feet will not put you back in my good graces, Mauricio,” he snarled.
“I have been nothing but honest with you, My Lord. My life is yours, it has always been yours.” His words carried the weight of truth to them, a fact Meirakat refused to acknowledge.
He stepped across the space, dragging Mauricio roughly to his feet and snapping his jaws shut on the human’s throat. While the man tensed, he did not cry out. He stood slack under his Lord’s jaws, allowing the vampire to get his fill.
When Meirakat had finished, he released the man just as callously as he had picked him up. Mauricio slumped to the floor, cradling his bruised throat. Simply staring, he watched as the man quietly picked himself off the floor and moved to the feinting couch to recover.
Without another word, Meirakat swept back out of the room.
He only slowed once he reached his quarters. Pausing he set his hand on the white paint listening intently to the sounds beyond the door. Elpis was moaning, as was typical these days. The virus was not being at all kind to her. Allowing his hand to slide down the face of the carved door, he wrapped his hand around the knob and turned it.
Stepping into the room he moved immediately to their bed. Kneeling at the close side, he glanced down at his mate’s gaunt face. The shadows around her eyes and at her cheeks were deeper than before.
“Elpis, my love?” he whispered, stoking her already thinning hair.
She opened her eyes and glanced up at him, trying to smile. One corner of her mouth turned up slightly, but that was all she was able to manage. The expression was quick to slough off her face.
“How are you feeling?”
She blinked and shook her head, her mouth turning down into a frown.
“I wish there was something I more I could do.” Reflexively his hand stroked her fevered head again.
She shrugged and glanced away, fighting a shiver that ran through her emaciated frame.
He kissed her forehead, seriously entertaining the notion of curling up by her to comfort her through this portion of her malady. His action in the direction was interrupted by a soft knock on the door.
He glanced into his mate’s face. “I should get that.”
That miniscule smile emerged again accompanied by a faint nod.
Reluctantly he rose and approached the door.
“Alstaire?” He stepped into the hallway and shut the door behind him. Alstaire retreated from the entrance to accommodate his Lord’s move.
“Census has been completed, My Lord.” Even the man’s expression was grim.
Meirakat straightened, wondering if they had already been polling the population long before Meirakat demanded the information. With Alstaire’s knack for anticipating his wants, the thought shouldn’t surprise him. “What are the results?”
“Sir, of the hundred sixty-seven members of the house, one hundred twelve are showing some level that they are infected. Sixty-five of them are in the mid to late stages of the disease. Fifty-two are in strict isolation because they are a danger to themselves and others.”
He thought he had braced himself for the news… the preparation wasn’t close to be sufficient. He felt as if he’d been sucker punched.
“Word has been coming in from other clans.” Alstaire’s tone held the sound of a death knell.
He glanced at the taller vampire.
“The disease has spread out of Providence, My Lord. Other clans are reporting infection.”
Alstaire nodded silent agreement with the epithet.
“It’s uncertain at this point. Clans as far west as Dubuque have contacted us. How far past the Mississippi is uncertain.”
Uncharacteristically, Meirakat ran a hand over his face and through his hair in a show of helplessness. He didn’t know what else to say. “Thank you. Keep me posted.”
He didn’t wait for his assistant’s answer, opening the door to his room and closing it again without looking back. He moved to the bed, following through on his earlier thought. He climbed over Elpis, slipping beneath the covers and curling his body around her overheated frame. Possessively he pulled her closer, burying his face in her shoulder.
The action felt empty, because Elpis didn’t respond to the contact, simply shivering and moaning in his grip.
He was surprised to realize he fell asleep.
Meirakat knew it only because his eyes shot open. A rumbling pain in his gut resounding once again, ensuring he was fully conscious.
He drew in a sharp breath as panic started to overtake him.
He was hungry…