Like a lot of people, there were aspects of her job that Bethany did not really like. She worked for an international freight shipping company and had recently been sent on a company assignment in Germany. The firm had just set up new offices in Hamburg and needed to bring in a team to get everything set up to their system. As she was one of the company’s IT experts it had been logical to make her par of the team to get the computer systems up and running. This however was not what she hated about her work. In fact she liked to travel so being away from home did not bother her either. The problem she had was the company had sent along one of its junior partners to oversee the operations, and quite frankly she did not really like him.
Thomas was nice enough, but the problem for Bethany, he was too nice. Ever since he’d clapped eyes on her he seemed to have the hots for her. At first it was flirting. Then there were the lurid comments and double entendres. She’d told him that she was not interested but he just did not seem to grasp what she was telling him, or conveniently ignoring it. Bethany had considered reporting him for sexual harassment but resisted, thinking she could handle the lech on her own.
This continued until one night she caught sight of him following her. Bethany decided to give him a piece of her mind, when he suddenly moved at an inhuman speed and pinned her against the wall. Opening his mouth wide she saw with horror that he possessed a set of fangs. She then thought it was perhaps an elaborate joke, a very bad one. Then he proceeded to use them on her neck.
That was all she remembered until the next day, until she awoke in her apartment. The morning sun hurt her eyes but she had an intense feeling of strength and power. Turning away from the window, she saw Thomas, sitting in the corner of the room in the shadows. She was about to ask him to leave when every part of her body felt it was on fire. The agony was unbearable. Thomas came over and showed her a strange text and asked her to read it in order to make the pain go away. Though she hardly trusted him she was desperate and did as asked.
The pain lifted. She backed away from him but even at a distance she noticed she could actually hear him breathing. In fact she could even smell him which was impossible. Instead of telling him to leave, she wanted answers.
Thomas explained that he had fell in love with her and when she had pushed him away, he had taken matters into his own hands so they could be together. He had turned her into a Vampire. Though repulsed by him and what he had made her, Bethany had no choice but to follow his lead since there was much she had to learn in order to survive. When she enquired about the text, Thomas explained to her that the pain was a product of the vampire curse and could be stopped if she pledged herself to the Demon, Y’Creft, the creator of their race. He did admit that if she could have ignored the pain for a day then it would have gone anyway but he could not stand to see her in agony. This gave her another reason to hate him. He tried to reassure her that if she did not kill and consume blood in anger she would keep her soul, although that was hardly a bonus.
The very thought of having to consume blood ought to have felt revolting but Bethany could not help think it seemed strangely “natural”. Killing also seemed a perfectly natural idea and Bethany started to realise that as well as her body her mind was changing. Summoning up her will power she told Thomas that she would not kill and would rather die first. He tried to reassure her that she had nothing to worry about since in modern society hunting and killing were largely things of the past and that the Coven he belonged to would supply her with all the blood she needed once she pledged allegiance to the Elders.
He then explained that contrary to her fantasy beliefs, she could return to work. Most vampires hid in plain sight, albeit during day light she would need special contact lenses to tone down sunlight. Though Thomas still wanted her she could never reciprocate his affections, especially now, but she did stay around him because she had no choice if she wanted to learn how to control her vampire urges.
Eventually the time came when the coven Elders, the Forstners sent for both her and Thomas. The place she was taken was a huge mansion somewhere in the German countryside. Thomas explained that the mansion was not only home to the Elders but also the support staff. In fact the building was the centre for all Vampires in the European region. He told her to guard her behaviour because being a society based on hierarchy she had to show obedience and honour to those in charge, namely the Elders and the Elite house members.
The audience did not go too well with the Elders for they were very unhappy with Thomas. It was very much against the rules of all the vampire Covens to turn people without good reason. They had no idea who she was or if she could be trusted with the secrets of being a race, so they not pleased that she was now their responsibility.
Thomas was able to return home after a severe reprimand. He left the room and the House Elite were dismissed leaving her alone with the Elders Edgar and Isolde. They sat in silence and she had to sit kneeling in from of them. Bethany felt like they were studying her. Thomas had told her they were like Royalty but this seemed all a bit much. Finally after what seemed an hour, Edgar stood up and walked over. He placed a hand under her chin and raised her head so she was looking upwards at him. He then asked if she pledged her allegiance to the Forstner Coven.
Bethany said yes. Thomas had briefed her earlier on what was to happen and she did not feel like she had much of a choice. At this moment Edgar took out a knife and cut his wrist and drained a little blood in a chalice. Bethany then asked to drink it. As soon as she did she saw a rush of memories that were not her own and dated back centuries. This was the “blood memory” Thomas had mentioned. Unlike the “human” blood she’d been given to consume up until now she had experienced nothing like that. It was only the blood of another vampire that produced the effect. Edgar could see her reaction and commented “quite a rush the first time isn’t it?”
This marked the end of the ceremony and Edgar dismissed her. As she headed to the door, Isolde announced that she wanted Bethany to stay at the mansion for a time. They wanted to check her background and just be sure she posed no threat to security and to arrange a permanent supply of blood.
After three weeks, tired of feeling like everyone was watching her she decided to “escape” from the mansion. There was nothing for her to do other than lounge around the mansions grounds and she was bored out of her mind. On several occasions she had been promised by both Edgar and Isolde that she would be taught everything about being a vampire so she would know her strengths and weaknesses but nothing happened. She decided she would rather be back in her own home.
Upon reaching her apartment she was jumped by masked men. Despite having enhanced abilities they had strength in numbers. Still it took about eight or ten to wrestle her to the floor but once down they quickly slid some sort of chain like sleeves up her arms and legs. They were too thin to act as restraints but as soon as they were on her, she felt her strength start to leave her.
Silver, she thought. Thomas had warned her about the draining effects of silver. She did not know who there people were but they certainly seemed knowledgeable about vampires. Next the assailants snapped on shackles on her wrists and ankles and then put a mask type device over her head which prevented her opening her mouth.
Over powered and defeated, the men dragged her into the other room where a strange metal unit awaited her. The main part was like a largish box with what appeared to be small doors on each of the sides as well as the front and back and all of them were padlocked shut. On top of this “box” was a cylinder shaped unit. It too had a door that was padlocked. Bethany did not like where this was heading.
One of the men unscrewed the four nuts holding the “cylinder” and she could now see that the top of the box was split, hinged to the front and back pieces and where they met there was another pair of padlocks holding them shut. The was also a large hole at the joint which had previously been hidden by the cylinder.
The two padlocks were removed, and the top of the box was opened. Bethany started to panic but weakened, she was no match for the men surrounding her. They forced her to step over one of the side. Once inside the box she noticed near the back on the base were a pair of rings mounts. Next the men forced to her to kneel so that her shoulders were below the top of the sides. Quickly they rotated the front and back part of the lid in place, at the same time holding her head so it did not get struck. With her head now sticking out of the opening in the top they replaced the padlocks. Bethany was resigned to the fact that escape was impossible. but despite this one of the men opened the door at the back of the box and padlocked the chains linking her shackles to the attachments she had seen before on the base. The back door was then locked shut. If she thought her ordeal was over, worst was to come for they replaced the cylinder unit over her head and she was in almost complete darkness, apart from a rim of light around the door part of the unit which was now in front of her face .
When she saw light proper light it was when this same door was opened. She knew she had been taken somewhere due to the movements she had felt in her confined surroundings but had no idea where. The man outside appeared to be some sort of scientist. He explained he had no intention to harm her but she was too dangerous to be set free whilst conducting his experiments. He also made it clear that if she struggled or try to cause him inconvenience she would regret it.
Despite the warning, Bethany did just that so he simply shut the door in front of her face and locked it. A few hours later the door was opened. This time she decided not to fight. It was futile anyway. Now that she was acting calm he told Bethany that he would be opening one of the side doors and taking blood samples. She felt the cold air as the side was opened but only able to see forwards and that was limited. He felt the man stick a large needle into her arm, and then a few minutes later he shut the side door and locked it before reappearing a few moments later with a syringe of her blood.
This sequence of events went on over a couple of days. All the while she could feel herself getting weaker. She knew that she had to consume blood pretty soon or die. That was another of the things Thomas had warned her about. Obviously the scientist had also noticed her condition because on the third day he announced he would be “feeding” her. Bethany had thought “Great” at the time for she finally thought she would be rid of the painful mask strapped to her face. Hope though faded when the man brought a drip and then lubricated a tube which he fed up her left nostril, so that it dripped blood down the back of her throat. He only allowed a little blood to flow before closing the valve. He then admitted that he would merely give her enough to keep her alive as he could not allow her to regain any significant strength.
Days turned into weeks , and all the while she was kept in her tight confinement. Every part of her bod yearned to stretch out. She tried to mumble on several occasions just to be let out, even promising to return to her box afterwards but her pleas fell on deaf ears. All she was told was that her vampiric condition would mean no permanent harm would come to her.
After what she assumed to be four of five weeks later, the scientist appears before her, as regular, but this time he looked different. Bethany guessed he has used her blood to turn himself into some sort of vampire hybrid.
She thought her ordeal would be over now but the tests and blood extraction continued. A few days later though the usual monotony was changed and she became aware from her heightened hearing of some sort of commotion outside the room. She heard the door come crashing down but of course could not see anything because she was unable to turn round. A man then appeared in front of her and began breaking to padlocks of her box. As soon as he removed her mask she asked who he was. He simply replied “Kirkwood”.
As soon as the two halves of the lid was opened, Kirkwood helped her up but she was so weak that she nearly fell back down. He seemed to spy the shackles and the fine chain on her arms and legs and grimaced. “No time to deal with that, I got to get you out of here!” he announced. She was about to say she couldn’t walk when he simply picked her up and threw her over his shoulder. After that she blacked out altogether.
On a hillside somewhere Bethany awakes. Kirkwood encourages her to bite him, but she refuses out of fear she will turn him so he displays his fangs, revealing he is like her, a vampire. Since she has only ever drank “supplied” blood, the idea of biting into flesh repulses her, so its takes some encouragement on the part of Kirkwoord but once she starts she finds herself unable to stop until he physically forced her off him. She then suddenly has flashes of memories but they are not hers. This was exactly the same as what had happened with Edgar. Bethany apologises for what she did but Kirkwood explained that it was actually perfectly natural. He then told her than when vampires chose to consume blood directly from a living host they experienced a blood lust. It was part of the curse created by Y’Creft to trick them into losing control and forfeiting their souls to him because if not kept in restraint it was very easy to kill in anger. This he made it clear she had to avoid at all costs.
Piecing together the remnants of foreign memories, Bethany deduced that Kirkwood was one of the elite members of the European House. Having risen up the ranks, his skills as a warrior had not gone unnoticed so he was put in charge of “dealing” with threats to the coven Security. Most of the time this came from usurpers trying to eliminate the elders and more recently at the vampire renegades. So good had he become at extinguishing fellow Vampires he had become known as the “Blood Knight.”
Kirkwood’s memories showed Bethany that weeks earlier, Thomas had become worried when he had not seen her and came looking at the mansion. Since he was told she had simply left Thomas had thought it was odd and gone to ask Kirkwood, after all the House Elders had wanted her to stay as they considered her a security threat. Kirkwood told Thomas he would look into the problem and sent him on his way.
After Thomas was gone, Kirkwood had been left slightly confused. On the night of the visit he had been missing as he was performing his duties in hunting a rogue. On his return he had seen Bethany around the mansion but never had a chance to interact. If she was such a high level threat to security he wondered why Edgar and Isolde had not told him as much upon his return.
Thinking this to be strange and not wanted to bother the Elders, Kirkwood did a bit of investigating and learned from a couple of underground sources that Bethany was being held by Citadel at one of their facilities. Since one of the core ideals of the the Vampire Houses was to protect their own, he found it intolerable that Bethany was being kept captive.
Taking the evidence he had, he went to the Elders with plans to mount a rescue. It was then that Isolde and Edgar told him they knew all about Citadel and Bethany. It had been their doing. Shocked by the revelation, Edgar tried to explain that Citadel had learned about their House and was threatening to expose them. As a means to appease them, Citadel had asked for a “sample” in return for their silence. They had offered Bethany up as a sacrifice. Kirkwood could not believe what he was hearing and asked the Elders how they could do that to one of their own. Isolde simply replied that since Bethany was unsanctioned, she was not really one of their
Despite being told it was the will of the Elders, Kirkwood still asked for permission to form a team and mount a rescue. They refused. Still angry, Kirkwood said he would go an rescue Bethany whether they liked it or not, and alone if he had to. He hoped to change their minds. Instead Edgar threatened that if he did that then he would be exiled from the House and he would be hunted down like a rogue, a role he had been fulfilling for centuries. Kirkwood responded by telling them they could try but if they did that then he would have no qualms about coming for them.
Having seen all that had happened, through his memories, Bethany now knew the full story.
“You gave up everything, your life, your status. Why did you do it?” she asked.
“I have a code of honour. If what I believe in, the House, its Elders are a lie then how can I continue?” replied Kirkwood.
“So what happens now?”
“What happens now is I train you to be a warrior, as good as me.”
“I don’t understand,” said Bethany.
“The House will be coming for me. They will probably be after you as well.”
“But I’m not a fighter?”
“You’ve not really got a choice in that. Its kill or be killed. Besides I’m sure you will want some revenge for what was done to you.”
“That’s for damned sure!”
Though he knew becoming a warrior like him would take years Kirkwood knew they did not have years. In fact depending on how determined the Coven Elders were they could have days or weeks before the first assassins found them. However being a vampire meant she could have access to his memories which speeded up the process. They could never stay too long in one place before the House found them and they were forced to move on. Though she was inexperienced, with Kirkwood’s help she started to get good at fighting and killing other vampires. Taking their blood also had the added bonus of allowing the pair to steal memories from their would be assailants and obtain valuable intel on what the coven was planning next. In between training Kirkwood taught Bethany all the techniques she needed to master as a Vampire and how to kerb her blood lust. He also showed her other methods of getting blood because he warned her that if she started to hunt humans then she would never stop.
Around a year later, the pair at long last parted company. Kirkwood was sure Bethany had what was needed to survive. He had chosen to start targeting the higher members of the Vampire houses and she was not yet experienced to follow him on that journey. Before they went their separate ways, Kirkwood presented her with a pair of plasma charged daggers he had stolen during the night he rescue her from Citadel. They were obviously prototype weapons but since he preferred more traditional blades, they were of no use to him other than as a trophy. He said they would serve as a reminder of her past, and those that fell foul of them would be reminded she would not have the weapons had the people she had trusted had not sold her out.