“So… we’re supposed to be your attendants?” Ian asked me with trepidation in his voice.
“Yes.” I said, “Now get me a cigarette.”
I had no idea what to do with these two idiots, but I was getting used to being waited on hand and foot, although it’d been a long time since I’d had the luxury..
“Go damn it!” I prodded him with the toe of my slipper. I had insisted on having proper clothes and was now swathed head to toe in a luxurious silk robe that whispered against my skin like butterfly kisses.
In short order I had a cigarette, and sat smoking idly and trying to figure out what Vlad had in store for me. Either he was going to sell me out, he planned on making me a marytr, or he was relying on me to somehow regain my Destruction and remove his biggest enemies.
I was hoping he didn’t think I was going to be able to anihilate the factions arrayed against him. Even though I was getting used to this strange method of ‘seeing’ my regular powers hadn’t returned at all. I sighed, trailing smoke out of my nose.
A feeling like the first thirst, only not quite as strong tickled at the back of my awareness and it was starting to get annoying. I didn’t need blood, I needed something else.
“Hey, you morons don’t know anything about what Vald is planning do you?” I asked, more for a distraction than anything else.
“What? The professor…” Ian was still having trouble adjusting to reality, “I mean we didn’t even know there was anything going on at the university…”
“I don’t think anyone really knows what’s going on.” Phill said quietly, “I wish I didn’t know.”
“Oh relax, so the world’s full of monsters…” I laughed, “And you’re trapped in the room with one of them.”
“Uh. Great.” Ian said, but my moment of levity was gone and I was back to puzzling over my problem.
“Damn it, what’s he thinking anyway? Why wouldn’t he fill me in on the plan beforehand?” I muttered, crossing my legs and kicking a slippered foot in irritation.
“Maybe he wants your surprise to be a part of it? Like maybe it’d be more authentic if you were actually shocked by what happens?” Ian suggested, “Otherwise it wouldn’t make much sense.”
“That’s not a bad idea actually.” I admitted, “I mean your comment, not his stupidity. What could he possibly be planning?”
“No idea, but my guess would be it’s not good.” Ian said, “Not good for you anyway.”
I decided I was starting to like this boy. “I appreciate your concern.” I said with a wry grin, “But I’m probably going to be fucked one way or the other. When a true blue bastard like Vladimir wants you to come to trouble, you tend to come to it no matter what.”
“Well shit.” Phil said, “Is… is there anything we can do? I mean I’m not hero, but it seems like our lot is thrown in with yours and…”
I would have been touched if I didn’t know that he was just trying to save his own ass. “Yeah… why don’t you go ask around and see what you can come up with? Someone must know what the hell is going on.”
“I don’t know anyone here.” He protested, “I haven’t seen even one single student and everyone seems so…” He trailed off. I got the impression he was trying to choose his words. “So unfriendly.”
“Yes, well, most of them are probably bloodsucking fiends like me.” I said, “So you’re probably being prudent. But that’s not my problem, get out there and see what you can dredge up.”
“I don’t know…” Phil began
“Oh shut up man, we’ve been in and out of this place a hundred times.” Ian said, “There’s no reason someone would try and kill you now if they hadn’t before is there?”
Phil paused, making me wonder what was really passing between them. Damn but I hated not being able to see expressions. They were plotting something; I’d stake my … death on it.
“Yeah, fine.” Phil said, “I’ll probably get killed but what do you care?”
“I’ll be honest. I don’t give a shit about either of you… but you probably feel the same about me.” I said, stubbing my cigarette out on a nearby table without bothering to find an ashtray. “Other than the fact that you know I can eviscerate you in a heartbeat. I’m probably doing you a favor by sending you away Phillip. Aren’t I?”
“What?” The tone of his voice told me I’d hit the mark. “You’re cracked.”
“Yeah, whatever.” I said, holding my hand out toward Ian. He put another lit cigarette into it and I smiled. I liked an attendent who could anticipate my needs. “I’m fine with it anyway, you’re free to run away with your tail between your legs. I wouldn’t mind if you gave me a touch of intel to work with, but you’re a liability if you don’t want to help so get the fuck out.”
The door slammed open and I looked over to see a bright flame moving through the door. It was Vlad; I’d recognize the signature of his flame anywhere. How strange that I’d grown this accustomed to seeing beings with this new sight.
“I trust you’re ready for battle Renyovalia?” He asked, and then paused, I assumed looking at my attire in disbelief.
“Battle?” I asked, “BATTLE? If you wanted me to be be ready to fight then why the fuck didn’t you tell me?”
“What did you think was going to happen? We are showing up uninvited to a Tribunal inquiry. A full meeting at that.” He chuckled, “Then again it won’t really matter. Your weapons don’t care what you’re wearing do they?”
“I’ve told you. My Gift is gone.” I said, shaking my head at him, “If you wanted me to be able to do anything for you maybe you shouldn’t have broken my power.”
“Don’t sell yourself short.” Vlad said with a strange fanatic glee in his voice. “Where is Gem? What happened to Dog?”
“I don’t know.” I hissed, losing my temper in truth now, “Why don’t you tell me? In case you hadn’t noticed I’m blind, Powerless and it seems my body is coming apart at the seams from cuts that don’t seem to want to heal.”
“As I said, you’re far from Powerless, and as to the healing… if you do what I want, I will look to some of that.” Vlad said with some of the insane pitch bleeding from his voice to be replaced by a scholarly tone. “Rebecca has some interesting ideas about necrotic regeneration that I think you will appreciate. But first you must prove your usefulness.”
I sighed in resignation. Either this was only so much noise or else he really could help. Either way it wouldn’t matter in a few hours, I’d be dead or they would be. Maybe both.