“I now call the conclave to order.” The tall, Old vampire rapped the gavel on the podium, looking for all the world like the CEO of a large business in his dark suit and tie. “We have a full complement minus one,” he continued as his eyes searched the room.
The other vampires nodded, some frowning, the others seemingly unfazed at the absence of one of the Ancients.
“The first, and for now only business before us, is the election of a new King. Three names have been put before us. One is Reginald,” he nodded to the male sitting to his right, “the second is Jacques.” A slender blonde man stood as his name was mentioned. “The third…”
“Is not in the least bit interested,” Addie said as she strode into the room. “Actually, there was a fourth who was planning to make certain that he would be the next King, to the point of murdering as many of us in this room as possible with the help of his son.”
There were gasps of shock from the attendant vampires. “Who?” one shouted out, the others taking up that theme as they turned to stare at Addie.
“A vampire who, I sadly fear,” her face showed otherwise, “didn’t survive to complete his plans. However we have his son and one of their surviving companions.” She stepped aside to allow Shan to drag the dhampir into the room.
“The Messenger, the Messenger.” The name was whispered around the room from vampire to vampire.
“Yes and no,” Addie told them as she and Shan walked to the front of the room with the struggling dhampir between them. Race hobbled in behind them, looking very much the worse for wear, his good hand holding the end of the silver chain that bound the wrists of a deathly pale vampire.
When Addie reached the podium the vampire in charge stepped aside so that she could speak. Quickly and succinctly she explained to the gathering exactly what had happened. By the time she’d finished, the room was silent, until the vampire called Jacques stepped forward.
“Why is this one still alive? Better that we loose the Messenger than allow such a deadly dhampir to live.”
“He’s alive,” Shan said, his voice filled with venom at the speaker’s words, “because we are not murderers. I will send this…thing…” he turned his angry gaze on the dhampir, “to one who can separate him from the Messenger. Then and only then will he be slain.”
“And who are you to make this decision,” Jacques asked with distain.
Shan smiled. “The one who is keeping him from using his powers to destroy all of you. If you wish, I can release him into your hands; that is if you have the ability to control a sorcerer nearly as powerful as I am.”